The international break couldn’t come at a better time for Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal men. After the dominating win at Old Trafford, The Gunners were looking to push on with a comfortable home fixture against Aston Villa, not quite.
Within his first year of becoming Arsenal manager, Mikel has taken a mediocre team from the hands of Unai Emery and turned them into FA Cup winners, beating the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. Arsenal fans thought they had finally found to the man to take them back to the glory days, to make them invincible once again.
With the deadline day signing Thomas Partey, a free transfer of Willian from Chelsea, the re-loan of Real Madrid Spaniard Dani Ceballos & ever present Gabriel from Lille, it was a great summer for Arsenal, fans expected a real top four push, a position The Gunners haven’t finished since 2016. However, things haven’t started quite as expected for Mikel’s men.
Arsenal’s talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has failed to hit the ground running this season, with only two goals in 717 minutes of Premier League football. After netting an impressive 29 goals in all competitions last year, 19 more than any other Arsenal player, it’s hard to see where the goals will come from.
In recent years, Arsenal have been known for being soft, easy to score against, a side that is often bullied. However this season before the 3-0 loss to Aston Villa, they had the best defensive record in the league, but with the exclusion of Mesut Ozil from the squad, The Gunners now find themselves struggling to create chances. Winning off counter attacks and penalties is not a sustainable style of football for a team challenging the top four, how can Mikel turn it around?
With already four losses in the league, Arsenal need to have a near immaculate run until at least the January transfer window to keep any hope of a top four battle alive, they will need to take risks, perhaps use some of the talent from their glowing Hale End academy, something must change, and it must change fast.