The Warm Down: Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal
Arsenal's Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (L) receives directions from Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on October 17, 2020. (Photo by Michael Regan / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

Arsenal tasted defeat again in an away game against notoriously tough opposition, but for the second away game in a row came away without their usual embarrassment.
 

The game offered fans some insight into how the club need to step up and win these types of fixtures. 

  • Bukayo Saka is a shining star 

Since Mikel Arteta gave him his first real run in the first team Bukayo Saka took the chance by the scruff of the neck and has cemented his place in the first team picture.

He has gone from strength to strength and has earned his England debut and has been given the number seven shirt at Emirates Stadium.

Saka started the game today and displayed why he has earned the trust of his manager.

He caused the Manchester City defence all kinds of problems, and on another day would either have scored or registered an assist.

It wasn’t Arsenal’s day, but Saka can be proud of his performance. 

  • The desperate need for a creative midfielder 

Arsenal struggled for creativity in the midfield and are lacking the man to execute the final pass or create that spark.
 

Failure to secure the signing of Houssem Aouar has concerned fans and the inexperience of Joe Willock and unnatural role for Dani Celballos doesn’t leave the The Gunners’ with many other options.

Emile Smith-Rowe is still recovering from an injury and is more natural on the left wing.

Arteta‘s decision not to register Mesut Ozil looks to be an error for the team, despite his high appearance fee would be perfect for Arsenal in the short term.

The transfer window has only been closed for a matter of days, and Arsenal have already been linked to a host of names such as; Dominik Szoboszlai, Emi Buendia and Houssem Aouar (again). Jack Wilshere had his West Ham contract terminated on transfer deadline day and could offer some depth on a short-term contract, although that seems unlikely.

  •  Hector Bellerin isn’t first choice quality

Hector Bellerin’s performance against City was lacklustre at best.

He was sub-par in his efforts and struggled against the pace and prowess of Raheem Sterling. 

If Arteta wanted to change his system he does have other options at right back, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Cedric and Calum Chambers all capable of performing in the role, and whilst the later are returning to full fitness it shouldn’t cause too many long-term problems for Arteta’s men.

Bellerin certainly has his moments of brilliance, [THAT goal at Stamford Bridge], but if Arsenal were to kick on and challenge for Champions League places and even the Premier League title, it is an area that Arsenal need to strengthen.  

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