Is this the real reason why Arsenal have suffered a slump in form lately?

A telling loss by Ben Dungate

It would be somewhat hyperbolic to say the wheels have come off, but there has been a noticable dip in performance lately, not so much in our ability on the ball, but our ability to maintain that level throughout the match, as was the case over the first part of the season.

I don’t think we should start panicking yet, but I do think it has provided a much needed wake-up call. We had a very good start to the season. That’s all. We haven’t won anything, we simply won a bunch of games a team with ambition should win and got an outstanding win against Liverpool.
So what has been the difference from then to now? It’s hard to tell for certain. There’s has been lots of talk of fatigue, but if that is the case then we are in all kinds of trouble given that we are probably less than a third of the way through the season. And I genuinely don’t think it is.
So I offer an alternative reason to why our standard or at least consistency has dropped off: the loss of Zinchenko. His leadership and unrelenting demand for perfection is going to be a big loss for any team, but for a young side without an abundance of leaders it is a huge hole out there on the pitch.
I think his presence in the side makes everyone better. I freely admit I didn’t really understand how good he was before he joined, but from what I’ve seen and read he is definitely one of our most influential characters and the sooner we get him back the better.
Ben Dungate


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Tags Oleksandr Zinchenko


  1. Zinchenko is a massive miss no doubt about that, the Southampton game showed it more than any.

    We are far more press resistant when he is in the team, neither Tomi or Tierney was effective as he would have been, that game in particular.

    Yes his contribution is noticeable missing.

  2. I also believe we’ve lost his playmaking ability. He’s missed seven games, but I heard he started to train lightly

    I wonder whether Palmeiras’ Danilo can play inverted LB like Zinchenko or not. Maybe some Brazilian Gooners here can give us some opinions about Danilo’s abilities?

    1. Had never seen the kid played in a left back position but every where in midfield.

      Here are his skills sets

      Fast and athletic
      Technically gifted
      Play as a box to box midfielder
      Tireless runner (workhorse in our world)
      Great position awareness and anticipation
      Accurate and tenacious tackler
      Tactically intelligent
      Superb long passing ability
      Mainly plays on the left #6
      The kid has a compass on his left foot

      Better than Guendouzi, Tielemans, Douglass Luiz almost an automatic starter.

      Has a very high ceiling that you can take to the bank.

      1. Thanks for the detailed info, he sounds perfect to be Xhaka’s successor and Partey’s competitor. I heard Arsenal held an internal discussion over a potential deal for him

        Imagine the combination that could happen, if we have five Portuguese-speaking players on our left wing next season:

        1. Tavares passes the ball to Martinelli through the left sideline
        2. Martinelli cuts inside and passes the ball to Magalhaes or Danilo
        3. Tavares penetrates the opposition half and Magalhaes or Danilo makes a through ball to him

        1. Yes can just imagine him on the left side for real.
          Everything points that he is going to be a powerful midfielder.

          In a nut shell, his playing style is in the mould of a young and raw version of Andrea Pirlo

      1. They’re still dominant and made plenty of great chances, but they seemed too tired to play against other EPL teams in their busy schedule

        1. Ok till u admit maybe your perspectives come from different universe.. I see different. They’re not the same without mane..Salah is not the same player without mane. everyone see that..the got bullied…defender makes mistake..the midfield is slow…I know you are too arrogant to admit this lpool team is different

  3. Talking about how we are short on midfielders, take a look at Lorients Enzo Le Fee.

    Very versatile midfielder, tough tackling but also creative. He’s described a lot as ‘new Verratti’.

    Wouldnt mind seeing him marshalling our midfield as he’s great going both ends.

  4. Can’t believe article sfter article
    Wheels come off
    Upgrade on GJ
    In a slump
    Said it once so say it again
    1 lose
    1 draw
    8 wins
    Sit top

    1 lose
    Sit top
    Need to win against a team we will hammer to secure top spot

    The wheels on the bus go round and and round, round and round

    25 wins this season
    7 draws
    6 looses
    Gives us a top 4 finish

    Played a lot of games in a short space of time so again it is inevitable we have come off the boil a bit
    Ben …who panicking

    1. Agree ….

      Look at Liverpool.and Chelsea etc… everyone is getting results that are unexpected … the number of matches being played before the World Cup is affecting everyone

      Even Haaland has slowed down his scoring and now injured

  5. Despite that Zinchenko is undoubtedly a top quality for Arsenal. But if he will not be available for our important home match against Nottingham Forest tomorrow, his absent for Arsenal in the matc shouldn’t be an excuses for the Gunners to not beat Forest in the match.
    So therefore, let the Gunners who Arteta will select to play Nott For in the match get their amplitude together. And show responsibility for Arsenal to not make the mistakes about it to not beat Nott For in the match. But make sure they beat them, for,if they don’t, there will be consequencies paid for their failing.
    But God forbids any failings to befall Arsenal in the match. But instead have a remarkable win success in the match tomorrow unfailingly.

  6. Oh look m city playing sideways football and getting threatened by a Leicester that we smacked silly. Looks like its not only us who are fatigued by a brutal October.

  7. When Arsenal was winning by the odd goal, moaners were lamenting. Would you rather we get the odd goal or lose? City are about to win by the same scoreline and move ahead on the table. If we get same scoreline tomorrow, would it be ok?

  8. The absence of Zinchenko and ESR, should not have a material impact on a team with top four aspirations, but unfortunately it has and has highlighted the lack of depth in our squad.While Vieira is a very talented, skilful ball player, was he the type of player we needed ?I hope he goes on to be success but I felt the addition of a powerful, athletic midfielder ought to have been our first priority in the summer transfer window.

    1. Agree, Zinchenko isn’t superman and he isn’t even the start of the problem with whats happening at the moment.

  9. And we aren’t as good as we think.
    We won’t finish top 4.
    And it wouldn’t surprise me if we mess the Forest game up.

  10. Chelsea getting spanked, Spuds losing.. This could become a nice weekend!

    City doesn’t look as menacing without Håland

  11. I don’t think so.his absence cannot explain the drop in quality from the rest of the team.players giving the ball away,making mistakes leading to goals…it can’t all be down to one player missing.

  12. Is anyone watching Newcastle winning games under the radar? Their form in the last 6 games WWDWWW, 16 out of 18 possible points in October. I’m scared as hell watching them play at the moment. They’ve scored 16 goals and conceded just 3 (+13 GD). Eddie Howe clearly deserves the manager of the month award. Arteta should be in with a shout if we thrash Forest tomorrow.

    With one game to play per week, I see no reason Newcastle shouldn’t be in the mix for Top-4 race, especially as theu’ve won these games with Saint Maximillian and Isak. I see us dropping out if we don’t strengthen in January. This means permanent transfers and loan deals in weak areas (Winger, CM and backup striker).

    Gakpo (cover 2 positions) and Danilo (or any CM) is a must. We can’t rely on injury-prone players like ESR and Zinchenko.

    We can’t afford to miss out on Top-4 again this season. Absolutely no reason to miss out!!!!!

    1. That’s Eddie Howe for you ,so underrated .
      I agree they look a solid team ,and another massive win today .
      They will invest heavy next summer and will be even stronger next season .

    2. Agreed. And let’s be honest, this Newcastle man for man isn’t even that good. Once they add to their squad and find better replacements for players like Sean Longstaff, Jacob Murphy, Ryan Fraser and Matt Target they will be a real force to reckon with. Our target should be to stay ahead of them and Man Utd and forget about City and Liverpool.

  13. should read without Saint Maximillian and Isak… Arab oil money destroying football. I weep for my darling club. Hopefully, we don’t bottle it this season and can continue to challenge and remain competitive.

  14. Just about every team with European football is suffering with this crazy schedule. Look what happened today:

    City played poorly today and squeaked over the line 1-0.
    Chelsea got stuffed 4-1.
    Spuds played badly and managed to come back from 2-0 down to win in the 92nd minute.

    Newcastle don’t have any European stuff to worry about and they’re doing great. Even Brighton.

    I think it’s a bit pointless looking for reasons Arsenal have problems when it’s all the clubs in Europe.

    If OZ comes back and plays great everyone will say we’ve been missing him – in reality, it’s probably just that he’s had a rest.

    1. And now Liverpool lose 1-2 at home to Leeds, another team with European football lose to a team that doesn’t have it.

  15. @IDKWIC I agree with you both that fatigue is catching up with the top clubs with European engagements. I just hope Zinchenko returns soon and we manage to grind out as many wins as we can before the World Cup.

    @Dan Kit Eddie Howe is underrated. It was always a delight watching his Bournemouth team back then. I had doubts if he would be able to manage the higher expectations at Newcastle with their new ownership, but he has performed really well up to this point. Yes, they’re gonna strengthen and that is why we too must do the same. I’m glad the board have further loosened the purse strings and are willing to back Arteta in January as we can’t afford to leave it too late till summer.

    1. Yes Eddie Howe is underrated – he was seen as a possible Arsenal manager for a lot of the time he was at Bournemouth.

      The improvement last season was tremendous, going from a team in the relegation zone under Bruce to a team with top 4 form under Howe.

      When our game against them was postponed to be the penultimate game of the PL season, I knew that wasn’t in our favour. Lots of people said we bottled it but the reality is that Spurs and Newcastle away were seriously difficult fixtures.

      And the Spurs game was hard enough without the soft penalty and the soft sending off, but that’s another story.

      I thought it would take them another season or two, but now it’s clear that Newcastle are top 4 contenders this season, so the so-called big 6 had better wake up to that reality.

  16. Who is Zinchenko? Has he ever played for us? Very little impact on our season so far…because of injury.
    So what’s new?

  17. The team is just suffering from fatigue, nothing more. Zinchenko has nothing to do with our decline All the top teams are suffering. Newcastle have a great opportunity to challenge because they are fresh, one game a week while we play 3. We need capable players from the bench. Besides, we have not Don as badly as people are making it look. Tell me one team that has done better this season?

  18. No 2nd thought Zinchenko is fighter just like how the Ukraine troops n people fight vigorously. His leadeship quality also must be recognised. His accurate passes also able to convert it to a goal.

  19. A healthy Zinchenko, ESR and Elneny would collectively make a huge difference right now but that doesn’t mask the worrisome fact that the likes of Nelson, Nketia, Viera and Lokonga aren’t exactly making the most of their chances right now.

    1. I hope some Arsenal fans can now appreciate our win over Leeds and draw at Southampton more

      Leeds beat Liverpool at Anfield, Brighton trashed Chelsea & Man City struggled to beat Leicester City 1-0

      It’s a tough league, 9 games in one month ain’t easy! Support your team!!!

      1. And the other side of the coin is, us beating Liverpool was not the stuff of victory parades considering their current form. The Chelsea game remains the Big one for me in terms of regaining form and staking our claim to being contenders.

  20. Nonsense,slump for losing one game..wait us to lose 3 games in a row before you come up with such titles..or you wanted us to win every game!!

  21. @Mshenzi that would be some record if we did win every game wouldn’t it? We definitely need to strengthen in January, I have seen Newcastle’s trajectory and its a scary proposition seeing they’re not even at peak yet. I believe though we are better than when we both peak and we have as good a chance as City to win the league this season; this season is reminiscent of the season Leciester won.

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