It has been a nightmare start to the new Premier League season for Arsenal. They are already off the pace in the race for the top-four, and their matters haven’t been helped following the sacking of Unai Emery. In fact, since the Spaniard’s departure, they have looked more abject on the pitch.
Freddie Ljungberg was brought in to steady the ship, and if anything, he has dragged it to the bottom of the ocean. The Gunners are seriously paying for not having a manger lined up for when Emery was inevitably relieved of his duties.
However, there is a feeling that the club is close to naming their new manager with Mikel Arteta, the front-runner for the position. The 37-year-old would certainly be a popular pick among fans, as he spent five years at the Emirates. During his time with the Gunners, he made 110 appearances and scored 14 goals. He won two FA Cups with the club and has quickly settled into life in the dugout.
He has been an important part of Pep Guardiola’s introduction to the Premier League and was instrumental in the Citizens winning two league titles on the bounce. However, there will still be questions hanging over his head as this is his first job as the number one. But, will Arteta and Arsenal have enough in their squad to turn this season around?
Top Four Hopes
The Gunners are somewhat fortunate that the other contenders for a place in the top four have also had problems of their own. That means that they are only seven points between themselves and the current team holding the fourth spot, Chelsea. However, Arsenal will need an extensive run of victories to recover this gap and then leapfrog the other teams.
Arteta would need to arrive at the club and hit the ground running immediately. There are still questions about a lot of the players in the squad, as they haven’t been able to reach the heights that are expected of them. However, if Arteta can get them back to their optimal level, then they will have at least a fighting chance.
Arsenal will always have a chance of achieving their goals when they have one of the best strikers in the league at their disposal. Aubameyang was given the captaincy earlier in the season due to the dissent shown by Granit Xhaka, and there isn’t a player that deserves to wear it more than the Gabon international.
Aubameyang has already scored eleven goals in his 17 appearances this season, and if he can sustain that, then there isn’t a reason why the Gunners can’t quickly move up the table. However, the Gabonese can’t do everything alone, and there will need to be improvement around him in the forward areas. Mesut Ozil is too inconsistent, while Alexandre Lacazette has been left out an awful lot under Ljungberg. Nicolas Pepe will also be hoping that his stunner against West Ham can lead him to better things.
The one area of the field where the Gunners will really need to improve if they are to have any chance against the other big sides is in the defensive positions. They have been unlucky to a degree in the fact that Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin are back on the side-lines, but they will need to decide what they want to do in the central positions.
David Luiz isn’t of the quality needed, and the same can also be said for Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi. This weakness has ensured that the Gunners have conceded 27 goals to this point, and that is the worst defensive record of the top ten sides in the Premier League.
Much like a fast horse is needed to be a Kentucky Derby contender, a good defence is crucial to Arsenal’s chances of getting back on the right track.