Okay, let’s not beat around the bush, Arsenal are in trouble at the moment. Despite a number of new faces coming through the door at London Colney, the same old issues seem to be arising as we get stuck into the new season.
With the Emirates Stadium at full capacity for the first time since March 2020, the Arsenal faithful would have been hoping to see their team at put in a memorable performance, but instead of cheers and applause at the final whistle, a chorus of boos rang out in N5.
Yesterday’s performance typified the position that the Arsenal find themselves in – a long, long way from the front of the pack. Displaying a number of the issues that we have become so accustomed to over the last few years, The Gunners went down with little more than a whimper against a strong Chelsea side.
It could be argued that the Gunners were missing a large portion of their starting squad in the London derby, with Ben White, Thomas Partey, Gabriel, Alexandre Lacazette and new man Martin Odegaard all ruled out with either injury or unavailability – a weakened squad or not, the clear difference in quality of the sides shone through.
Outthought in every facet of the game, failing to take the initiative, the north London side found themselves 2-0 down at half time, and with recent form considered, the game was as near to done as it could be with only 45 minutes played.
Slow in transition, wasteful in the final third and quite simply appalling at the back, a disjointed Arsenal side stumbled their way over the finish line (while managing to save themselves from any further embarrassment in the second period).
However, as the final whistle blew all eyes turned to the Arsenal boss.
Having now failed to pick up a point in their opening two fixtures, the magnifying glass is placed firmly over Mikel Arteta, and unfortunately it won’t get any easier, with a trip to champions Manchester City next up for the struggling side.
A Nightmare Start
With a real possibility of gaining no points from their opening three fixtures, questions begin to arise when considering the direction the club is heading in. Under the control of Mikel Arteta, a number of fans now see their club to be up a certain creek without a paddle, but is it quite as bad as it’s believed to be?
Arsenal have been the Premier Leagues’ biggest spenders as of yet this summer, bringing in talent such as Brighton’s Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Aaron Ramsdale. While these additions do improve the squad, there is still something missing at the heart of the team.
The last few years have seen The Gunners slide further and further down the pecking order in the Premier League, to the point where results such as yesterday’s no longer come as a surprise but more of an expected outcome.
Arteta Dividing Opinion
While the gulf in class between the two sides yesterday couldn’t have been any more obvious, there seems to be a split in the consensus when it comes to Arteta.
With the new faces arriving, many believe that the young manager needs a little more time in order to set his team up to be competitive at the highest level.
Considering the rotting state in which the Arsenal squad was when the Spaniard took over, Gunners fans can feel more at ease with a younger, regenerated outfit that is sure to improve in years to come.
However, it is the immediate future that is the worry of a number of fans, many of whom have now lost patience with Arteta, having finished eighth in two consecutive seasons, failing to qualify for European football this season and some seriously lacklustre displays when it matters most.
While the performances on the pitch may not suggest so presently, the Arsenal board will have to quickly decide if they can see an upward trajectory under the stewardship of Arteta.
A mid-season managerial change would conjure up a huge amount of uncertainty and instability, of which the board will be well aware.
Arteta may not be on his last legs, fighting for his job right now, but the pressure is well and truly on, and results will need to turn around quickly if he wishes to keep his position at the helm of the club.