Arsenal in Dilemma:  worse to come?

In a shocking start to the Premier League, Arsenal is currently rock bottom of the premier league. With 3 games played, 0 goals scored,9 goals conceded, 0 points from 9.

The total opposite was expected by many as Arsenal went on a spending spree on player acquisitions this summer, so far totaling over 176 million euros for the season 2021/2022.

Flashback to the ’90s and early 2000s, Arsenal fans enjoyed the Arsene Wenger-led glory days, with top world-class players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Jens Lehman, Sol Campbell, Dennis Bergkamp, Nigeria’s own Nwankwo Kanu, Nicolas Anelka, etc. A period that saw a large population of Nigerians, in particular, fell in love with the “Gunners”.

These star players named above together on the pitch for Arsenal were enough to give football lovers, Arsenal fans or not, the urge to run to the Emirates to watch. An urge, sadly inexistent today, why?

With close friends and some family members of mine, fanatical supporters of Arsenal, I am forced to not only follow the developments at Arsenal FC but also to be concerned.

As I watched Arsenal get literally torn apart by a Manchester City side, playing far from its best, I could only feel sad and sorry for my friends and Arsenal fans at the sorry state of the team’s performance. Let’s try to evaluate what arsenals problems could be.

Could it be Players?  One point Arsenal fans often repeat over the years, especially against Arsenal’s management, is the lack of substantial investment in player acquisitions, some Arsenal haters even teased that, Arsenal is a club of “buy 1, get one free” etc. when it comes to players.

How then can one explain Arsenal lurking at the bottom of the league so far, in spite of spending the most ahead of the usual premier league “deep pockets” in Man.City, Chelsea, Man United or Liverpool etc.?

The problem, in my opinion, is not just spending lots of money, it’s what or whom they bought with it. For example, Strangely in my opinion, Arsenal spent over 30 million on a reserve goalkeeper when their defensive line needs upgrading with quality amongst others. Of course, they could argue it is for the future, but to think of the future, one needs to survive the present first.

A look at the Arsenal complete team roaster is shocking with the lack of match winners in comparison to the top 4 premier teams.

Most players prefer to go to other club sides than Arsenal these days as financially and ambition-wise, Arsenal is wanting.

I hated being pointed the finger as a player, so we would not do that here, hence Out of respect for Arsenal players we should not point fingers, but I honestly believe we could question if these players do have the qualities and the level to play at a top club like Arsenal pretends to be, or are they players for mid-table or relegation struggling teams? Are they good enough even for the premier league altogether? some could question.

I am totally at a loss at the “total depreciation”, if I may use the term, of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal. “Auba” is in my eyes one of the most talented world strikers of the recent decade, but watching him play now, makes one question if this is really “Auba” or a bad cloned version of the poor fella! Though not totally the fault of his, I would love to see this talented youngster excel once again.

Philosophy, at one point versus Man. City in the 2nd half, with arsenal one man down due to a totally inexcusable red card by Arsenal’s Xhaka, the statistics were 90% ball possession for Man city to Arsenal’s 10%.

In other words, except for touching the ball during throw-ins, goal kicks, or desperate tacking followed by a clear-out from the Arsenal defense, Arsenal never had the ball! This is troubling.

Arsenal used versus Man. City, 5 defenders,3 midfielders, and 2 strikers, though on paper it was a 3-5-2 system.

A formation that automatically “gifts” the opposition numerical superiority in over 70% of the pitch, and exposes your team to incessant pull-outs and through passes between the lines, in and out. This tactic against the best team at ball possession in the premier league, Man. City, equipped with extremely talented ball manipulators is simply suicidal.

Though this could be effective against a high possession team like Man. City, but there needs to be a plan to effectively counter with pace and use of the space ahead. This never materialized.

The End results? 1st,2nd, 4th, and 5th goals conceded by Arsenal were scored exploiting this weakness of the 3-5-2 system by Man. City.

Take a look at the 3rd goal Arsenal conceded; Arsenal tried a high pressing, but with 1 pass through several lines from Man. City’s goalkeeper, all arsenal attackers, and midfielders were eliminated and a simple tap-in was all Man. City eventually needed to score.

Good Coaching has been a bone of contention at Arsenal since the latter part of Arsene Wenger’s tenure, during Unai Emery’s tenure, and very loudly now under Arteta’s reign as coach.

Arsene Wenger is a certified legendary world-class coach, Unai Emery is a multi-decorated top-class coach and current European Champion with Villarreal and Arteta, though a FA cup and community shield winner, is still taunted by Arsenal fans as the least talented of the three.

What next? Arsenal’s problem is further troubling because I don’t think any available top coach would be willing to risk-taking on the job after an inventory of the above and more, but who knows? For the right price, a coach like Antonio Conte might just fancy the challenge.

 I fear the worst for Arsenal if they urgently do not act soonest! A relegation struggle should not be ruled out, I hope for Arsenal fans, this does not materialize anyway.

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