Why the Gunners’ defence needs a swift kick in the Arsenal
An exciting Gameweek 5 of the English Premier League displayed emphatic results for a few and disheartening results for teams like Arsenal.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz had a lot to answer for after Arsenal conceded two goals and squandered a strong lead in their away game against Watford last Sunday. The one problem hovering over Unai Emery’s mind after five matches played in the EPL is that of defence.
After struggling with their back line since last season, the Gunners thought they managed to put an end to all their worries by signing Sokratis. Since the past five games however, Arsenal have conceded eight goals and scored eight. However, their attacking force is not under quite as much criticism by the fans as their defence.
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A blazing start
The Gunners’ fans are crestfallen after a 2-2 result yet again, with more reason to be frustrated after drawing against a mid-order team like Watford. The first half was going Arsenal’s way with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring two. Going into the second half, the team seemed confident about emerging victorious after the 90th minute, with an expectancy of scoring a few more.
The second half started to show worry on Emery’s face however, as the team began to tremble at the hands of a determined Watford side. And eight minutes into the match, Arsenal gave their opposition an easy goal as Papastathopoulos tried to pass to a marked Matteo Gendouzi. Gerard Deulofeu intercepted the ball but could not collect it, while Tom Cleverley made his way towards the ball and placed it in the back of the net.
Not a great way to give away a goal, especially after taking a healthy lead in the first half. This made the defence nervous as they were looking to add three points on the table with their second away win.
Adding salt to injury
With Watford adding a goal to their tally, the home fans were charged up and cheering their team on with all their might. Arsenal had a lot more to lose than just a goal, and it was a scar on their fifth game of the season. Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac and David Luiz gathered their strength and motivated the demotivated Sokratis to hold the opposition from putting another one past Leno.
Both teams kept attacking with a hope to affect the existing 2-1 score line but were unsuccessful in turning the tide till the 81st minute. Luiz, however, gave away a penalty due to a mistimed tackle just inside the box. And this is not the first time the Brazilian has been sloppy in his defensive tactics.
Roberto Pereyra stepped up to the task and produced an easy goal from the penalty. The match was drawn and the scores were levelled till the end of the second half.
Emrey has his work cut out for him – He will have to begin taking apart the the hazardous defensive play from the last five games and address the challenges hidden underneath. With experienced players fumbling during the lead, the Arsenal manager can only hope for Sokratis and Luiz to straighten up and rectify their errors. He may wish to add more young, talented and strong defenders to the Arsenal firepower during the winter transfer window.
Until then however, all hopes will stay pinned on the current squad as they stare at their next 33 games under a cloud of uncertainty.