Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta questioned the heart and bravery of his players following the 3-0 loss to Liverpool at the weekend, and he was right to do so.
Even so, the Spaniard’s defensive setup also played a big part in the Gunners slumping to their sixth home defeat of the season. It doesn’t send the right message to your players when you ask them to sit so deep.
There is the sense that some of the first-team squad already had one eye on the Europa League, but even that was the case, having just three shots against the Reds at the Emirates is unforgivable.
1) A backup for Kieran Tierney is desperately needed
Cedric is a right-back, and a pretty average one at that, so the club must make it a priority this summer to find a back up left-back, especially due to Tierney’s fitness record.
2) Leno’s form is a major concern
Leno should have done more with Diogo Jota’s opener and there is an argument to say he shouldn’t have made it so easy for Mo Salah to slot through his legs either.
Selling Emi Martinez now looks like a major mistake. Hopefully, Leno can prove people wrong in some big games coming up but his recent performances have been below par.
3) Xhaka was missed badly
The lack of depth in central midfield is a concern, with Mohamed Elneny hardly pulling up any trees either. Granit Xhaka can’t come back soon enough.
4) Arteta correctly takes his share of the blame
The Arsenal boss admitted to getting his tactics wrong after the game, but he shouldn’t get off lightly simply because he recognised his mistake.
Seeing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing mostly at left-back was an unedifying sight. The low block that the Gunners employed failed completely as the home side were pressed back into their own penalty box.
5) Even more pressure to get a result against Slavia Prague
There was a feeling before kickoff that, as there wasn’t anything really riding on the Liverpool game, it may lead to a pretty indifferent display from Arsenal.
However, the performance was so poor that it could have a knock-on effect going into Thursday’s crucial Europa League clash.
Hopefully, the players wipe Saturday’s defeat from their memory as soon as possible and put in a much better performance later this week.
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