Arsenal have begun to drop off yet again in the Premier League following on from a disastrous week of football. A 2-1 defeat to Everton in midweek, followed by a loss against Manchester City by the same score line means that the Gunners are now nine points behind table leaders Chelsea. It means that Arsenal are once again in danger of dropping out of contention for the league title before Christmas.
One of the big factors of our decline in form during November and December, has been the poor form in defence. The Gunners defence has been an absolute shambles in recent weeks and it reminds you of a time six or seven years ago when you feared every opposition attack posing a real danger to our defenders. Now the defence we currently have holds far more quality than the defenders from previous seasons, but it is a real concern to see that Arsenal haven’t kept a Premier League clean sheet since our 0-0 draw with Middlesborough. It’s a run of eight Premier League games without a clean sheet and something the Gunners must improve on ahead of a busy schedule.
Arsenal made major steps towards making the defence stronger during the summer, with defence additions in Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi. It’s the latter player who has become a regular centre back to partner Laurent Koscielny, however currently the German international is ruled out with an injury.
Mustafi picked up a hamstring problem in our 3-1 win over Stoke at the Emirates and has subsequently been replaced by backup defender Gabriel. However in my opinion the Brazilian hasn’t impressed at all at centre back, instead he’s just adding to the calamity that already seems to be amongst the current defence strategies. As a result we cannot wait for Mustafi to get back into the line up and today he has revealed some good news for us.
Mustafi revealed to Arsenal fans today that he’s already back at the gym working on his fitness. The German said: “Nothing worth having comes easy. So let’s put in some extra hours at the gym.”
It was anticipated that Mustafi would miss the entire of the busy christmas period with his hamstring problem, however a quick return to gym work and soon training, may mean that the defender will be back on the pitch ahead of schedule. A return date was initially set for the New Year, but if Mustafi is ready to be back on the pitch for our fixtures against Crystal Palace or Bournemouth then it will definitely be a big boost for the Gunners.
In the mean time I guess we’ll just have to hope that our current crop of first teamers work on their defensive duties in training. Our next three Premier League fixtures are against West Brom, Palace and Bournemouth so on paper you’d expect at least two clean sheets out of the three games. However nothing comes easy at Arsenal and I’m sure the fans are all too familiar with that.