Why are Arsenal struggling this season? by SE
Arsenal, with 10 competitive games into the season, looks like the team that isn’t going to come up with the goods any time soon. The FA Cup win from last May led us to speculate that we might see a resurgent Arsenal on show at the very beginning of this season but, on the evidences of their displays until now, Arsenal’s detractors (one amongst them, Jamie Carragher) have every right to feel vindicated once again. Far too many times, they lack imagination and fall prey to the internet trolls and disparaging comments.
Coming to the analysis part however, why are Arsenal struggling this season?
The Gunners, of all the 20 Premiership teams, are right up there in terms of possession, enjoying 58% of time on the ball in the 7 Premier League games alone. While the Gunners have enjoyed large spells of possession, the failure to threaten their opponents’ goal has been the worrying part of it all. Those two crucial home games against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were testament to Arsenal enjoying large spells of possession, without posing any sort of menace to the opponents’ goal. The inference is simple: Arsenal are struggling to score goals, and their frontline – inclusive of Welbeck, Giroud and Sanogo – has scored just 2 of the entire team’s tally of 11.
Albeit it would be pernickety to indulge Sanchez in the list of less-than-impressive Arsenal players, the midfield duo of Ozil and Ramsey (until his injury) has failed to stamp their mark on proceedings so far. Arsenal, as a result, are feeling the ill-effects of not having their marquee men in the best of form, and rendering that cutting edge which is so badly needed at this level of the game.
The injection of Sanchez into this Arsenal setup meant that Wenger had to tinker with his favored 4-2-3-1 system, which was subsequently replaced with a much more safety-ensuring 4-1-4-1. While the 4-1-4-1 is in no way different to the 4-5-1, the Gunners are failing to play to the system despite having the players suited to it. The Chilean is yet to bring his A-game to the fore, which has put an enormous amount of pressure on Welbeck to be the solitary goal scoring outlet for Arsenal. And, although the former Manchester United striker has looked lively, he is feeling the negative side of being the solitary man upfront.
An ideal scenario would be to utilize Welbeck’s physical strength, play it into his feet, and let him hold it up for the others to join in on the attack; if that isn’t going to happen, however, Arsenal could continue to struggle to pose a serious threat to their opponents. With Chamberlain, Welbeck’s full potential could be utilized once again. Sanchez, playing as the Left-Winger, could cut in on his right foot, while Chamberlain can hold the byline and put crosses into the danger area for Welbeck to attack, which could happen starting this coming weekend against Hull City.
Arsenal are failing so comprehensively that it becomes so difficult to attain cohesion abruptly. The defensive partnership of Koscielny and Mertesacker has failed to live up to the standards that were expected of them, letting in 9 goals and contributing to Arsenal’s downfall. The engine room has been talked about far too many times that I am not going to touch upon it. For Arsenal to climb up the Premier League table, however, they need their defense, midfield and attack functioning better than what it has so far. Otherwise, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs to compete with, even 4th place could become a difficult objective to fulfill.