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The Financial Express

What’s the problem with Arteta’s System?


What’s the problem with Arteta’s System?

It was not the best of the visits for Josh Kroenke (Son of Arsenal's owner -- Stan Kroenke) to the Emirates as clueless Arsenal were handed a humiliating defeat by their City rivals Chelsea.

The fans didn't have a rosy day on their return to the Emirates Stadium after nearly one and half a year. On the player's part, especially the defensive unit, they might feel relieved that it didn't turn out more embarrassing after a poor show in the first half.

However, the focus has now shifted towards the manager Mikel Arteta. As he immediately points out the absence of crucial players; it gives a signal that he is under some serious pressure.

There could be a huge sum of questions thrown at him- why sign Aaron Ramsdale when he could spend the money on an outfield player who could improve the team drastically? Why is there no sign of the arrival of a right-back when the highest quality available is a declining Cedric Soares? Why has Granit Xhaka been offered a new contract when it entails a monumental risk of his dipping in form and being a burden to the team?

The list grows bigger with each passing Gameweek. Moreover, these are the lingering questions outside the pitch while it's been disastrous inside. It has become more evident after Chelsea ripped the team apart.

The defeat at the Emirates was likely. With a makeshift defensive pair, Arsenal looked out of ideas to deal with Romelu Lukaku -- Chelsea's marquee signing. The lack of cohesiveness in the defensive unit was exposed in the build-up to Chelsea's opener.

Clearly, Arsenal's options were limited after Ben White caught Covid-19. But, the question remains- was Pablo Marí Villar worth the money? Wouldn't it be wiser to keep William Saliba?

The instructions were unclear in the midfield. Albert Sambi Lokonga added a new dimension to the team. He seems to have a knack for keeping the hold of the ball in the face of intense pressing.

However, his positioning off the ball and work rate might concern Mikel Arteta. With a partner of Granit Xhaka 's quality, who has serious weaknesses in these areas, it might have backfired for the team.

In the front, Gabriel Martinelli was the only committed body to press the opponent defence. As the teenager lacks experience, it didn't cause Chelsea defence much trouble. Arsenal's front four looked confused when to press and when to sit back.

At one point, Emile Smith Rowe's backpass was met with jeering from the fans. While Granit Xhaka found himself Isolated from Albert Sambi Lokonga and the defence, Chelsea midfielders were quite smart to target the space in the left like Brentford. As Xhaka and Lokonga were unable to fall back timely, it left acres of space for Tierney to recover who was operating more as a central defender.

If these tactical fiascos repeat week in week out, Arteta is likely to lose his job before the January transfer window.

The flashes of hope provided by the pairs of Emile Smith Rowe and SambiLokonga might not prove enough in the coming days. The return of Key players; Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Ben White, Gabriel and Pierre-EmerickAubameyang might not be as well unless they work as a cohesive unit.

The Arsenal manager has limited time to sort things out before it enrages the fans to the point that they call for his departure at the Emirates.

Tofael Mahmud Studies Economics at the University of Dhaka

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