Mikel Arteta has a creativity disaster on his palms at Arsenal.
It’s now seven hours and 56 minutes since his aspect scored from open play within the Premier League – and a formation change and shift in place for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did little to resolve the issue in Sunday’s 0-Zero draw at Leeds United.
Nicolas Pepe’s mindless purple card on 51 minutes didn’t assist issues, in fact, however even within the first half, after they had been at full energy, Arsenal merely couldn’t discover a method to create openings towards their hosts.
There have been 5 photographs from Arsenal in that opening 45 minutes however not one on course – towards a Leeds aspect with statistically the joint-worst defence within the league.
Toothless in assault? Arsenal had been hardly ever getting in positions to even threaten. It’s a recurring downside, with Arsenal now goalless in 4 of their final 5 Premier League video games.
Arsenal’s worst begin in 34 years
Arsenal have simply 9 factors thus far this season – their lowest tally after 9 video games since 1986/87 (six)
Inevitably, the highlight focuses on Arsenal’s star striker Aubameyang at moments like this. He scored 22 instances for them final season however has only one aim – a penalty – from his previous eight league video games.
Aubameyang’s drop off in type has been a puzzle and a frustration. However his change to centre ahead didn’t show to be the answer, as many had been recommending.
As a substitute Aubameyang – beginning a Premier League match by way of the center for Arteta for the primary time – was remoted, managing simply 17 touches within the first half. Arsenal ‘keeper Bernd Leno, in contrast, had 27.
Twice he was outmuscled in fast succession by Leeds defenders after lengthy balls ahead from Leno simply earlier than half-time. Enjoying along with his again to aim simply will not be his energy.
Ending within the field is, although – however a wild slash previous the close to publish highlighted his present insecurity in entrance of aim, whereas a swivel and shot straight at Illan Meslier on the hour mark was miscued and tame by his requirements.
That was his solely shot on course of the match, after managing simply three in his earlier six Premier League video games from huge positions. These are lean instances for a participant who has feasted on targets since coming to England in January 2018.
Aubameyang’s sharpness at Elland Street may very well be put right down to a less-than-ideal preparation, given he and his Gabon team-mates had been pressured to sleep on an airport flooring whereas they had been on worldwide obligation final week. Or maybe there are wider points round his dip in type which might clarify his issues earlier than the worldwide break.
However Aubameyang’s place or efficiency will not be Arteta’s predominant concern with regards to Arsenal’s issues in assault. This can be a a lot wider concern, encompassing their whole workforce on the entrance foot.
They now rank among the many backside six groups within the Premier League for photographs, photographs on course, and probabilities created per match within the prime flight this season. The very fact the exiled Mesut Ozil nonetheless ranks second with regards to probabilities created by Arsenal gamers because the begin of final season is a telling stat.
Progressing by way of midfield, beating defenders out huge, developing with a spark within the last third, and creating house in and across the field for his or her attackers has develop into Arsenal’s downside – whether or not they’re shaping up in a 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1 or some other system.
Pepe’s purple card clearly distorts the evaluation of Arsenal’s efficiency at Leeds. If something, the gamers deserve credit score for the struggle they confirmed to carry out – with the assistance of the woodwork on three events – for some extent.
However there have been indicators at 11 v 11 within the first 50 minutes that the issues we’ve seen from their assault for a lot of this season stay – and can’t be solved with a easy reshuffle of gamers on the pitch.
Arteta’s focus must now be on methods to get the Gunners firing once more.