Following Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat at Liverpool, Casey Baughan reflects on their season so far under Unai Emery and what is hindering the team.
Week in, week out the North London team treat us to a tale of two halves, with the latter usually including a comeback, goal of the season worthy strikes and a ‘gif-able’ celebration from Unai Emery.
Reflecting on Liverpool’s 5-1 potential Premier League winning performance, Arsenal played like Liverpool prior to the Virgil Van Dijk era. €78.80 million is the difference between champions and a struggling injured back line, not Emery and his questionable tactics.
The Spaniard gave the Gooners ‘their Arsenal back’ with the fans falling in love with their team once more following the 22 match unbeaten run.
Fast forward to the 20th match of the season and Emery’s men are one point better off than last year, left with some very resentful fans. I can think of a few contributing factors to their festive misery in the Premier League that some Gooners should realise:
Injuries. The same old dreaded word when it comes to Arsenal.
- The worst situation was for consistent Rob Holding to suffer a big blow and take the rest of the defence with him.
- Mesut Ozil, a player who has divided a fan base. Injured or not, nobody knows for certain. His contract renewal will be lingering around the club and the pressure of that decision.
- Bernd Leno’s vulnerability in goal will only continue, even a ‘keeper worthy of Alisson Becker’s quality would struggle when there’s no protection with a defence that has been causing Arsenal problem’s for seasons on end.
Yes, Arsenal have had some success with their now come-to-an-end unbeaten run, but in reality it masked the errors that already were there.
Fans only raised their expectations, and undoubtedly celebrated and praised Emery, but for it to all come crashing down over two defeats is disheartening.
Liverpool were the prime example of coming close to success, thanks to their expenses and now it’s finally getting them somewhere. Arsenal’s board need to dig deep in their pockets for a centre-back who will provide some leadership and then they can follow Liverpool and Manchester City’s level up.
It will take seasons for Emery and his coaching staff to make a real difference to the team; after all Arsene Wenger spent over 10 years trying to do it with little money in the bank.
Follow Casey on Twitter @casey_baughan