Arsenal have suffered back to back defeats in the Premier League, also firing blanks in both games. First, it was an away loss to Manchester City at the Etihad, that was not so much of a bitter pill to swallow because going into the game, permutations favored Manchester City no thanks to their overwhelming superiority over the Gunners in recent seasons. A narrow loss and an improved performance gave the Gunners some comfort, a proof that there has been an improvement in personnel and results.
Based on the result at the Etihad, Arsenal were expected to win their next Premier League fixture which was at the Emirates and against Leicester City. The odds were stacked in favor of the Gunners but against all odds, it was the Foxes that emerged victorious, thanks to a late goal from substitute, Jamie Vardy. The English striker cannot just stop scoring against Arsenal just as Leicester cannot stop catching the Gunners on the break again and again.
Sunday’s loss brought to the fore the deficiency in the team. The lack of chances caused by the absence of a creative midfielder. Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta foresaw this as a challenge and tried to address it with his pursuit of French Lyon midfielder, Houssem Aouar but this fell through as the Gunners could not agree a deal with Lyon and Aouar’s agent . Arsenal had another bite at the cherry with the availability of Canaries Argentine attacking midfielder, Emiliano Buendia. The Gunners could have snapped him up owing to the extended window Premier League clubs had, to deal with teams in the lower leagues but yet again, they did not take it.
Despite obvious failure in the transfer window to address this obvious challenge, Arsenal failed to include Mesut Ozil in their Premier League and Europa League squad. According to Arteta, it is down to football reasons alone. Arsenal signed Thomas Partey in the summer transfer window and his presence has addressed the weak spine of the Gunners but the absence of a creative midfielder behind the attacking trio has blunted their attack. Star striker, Pierre Emeric Aubamenyang who was the club’s top goalscorer in the last two seasons has found chances hard to come by and goals scarce to get. He still has just a goal so far in the league this season with the other goal coming on day 1 of the Europa League.
There have been many arguments about the positioning of Aubamenyang with many claiming that he is finding it difficult to get chances and score goals because he has been forced to play wide on the left instead of centrally but that argument seems fallacious seeing that he was deployed in that position in the FA Cup semis and in the final against Manchester City and Chelsea respectively and bagged a brace in both matches. Seems his positioning is not the problem, lack of personnel is.
Arsenal currently lack a player with a creative spark, one that could pick out a pass in the final third. A player in the mould of Cesc Fabregas. They had a Mesut Ozil but ostracized him from the squad for “footballing” reasons. They had Auour in their sights but refused to pay over the odds for him. They could have considered Buendia but saw him as being below their station. Arsenal’s problem is creativity and they need to find a solution to that fast. It is the reason why Arsenal are not creating chances and by extension why Aubamenyang is having an extended goal drought.
The transfer window is not opening until January 1st at the earliest, no signing can be made before then. Ozil that could have been like a new signing has been forced to cheer the team from a distance after being left out of the squad. This seems a self-inflicted burden which Arteta must find a way to offset soonest now that top 4 is still within sights before it gets out of hand.