The most current MNF Extra, together with Jamie Carragher, looks at Arsenal’s defensive struggles and asks: Do they ever learn?
Arsenal’s capitulation from Watford on Sunday was the most recent reminder of those defensive problems that continue to hamper them. In the long run, and despite having reached half-time using a two-goal benefit, they have been fortunate to emerge in Vicarage Road with a point.
That defeat was avoided by them , however, is little consolation to mad Arsenal fans who have seen it. A trip to the Premier League side should have been a assignment. Instead, another masterclass was produced by Arsenal from self-destruction.
On this particular event, the main culprits were Sokratis Papastathopoulos, whose weak pass from inside his box allowed Tom Cleverley to score Watford’s primary goal, along with his centre-back partner David Luiz, that conceded the penalty for the equaliser when he first brought down Roberto Pereyra.
“For quite a very long time, going back to when I was a kid, Arsenal were called a very good group,” Jamie Carragher tells MNF Extra. “They have now gone completely the other way. They are a team you anticipate things to happen to. When they’re 2-0 up, they can never convince you.
“I believe Liverpool had a similar problem a couple of years back, beneath Brendan Rodgers and at the start under Jurgen Klopp. Regardless of what the situation was, you felt something can fail. What is worrying for Arsenal is the fact that it’s happening again in Emery’s second season.”
The individual mistakes have been a constant theme of this Spaniard’s tenure. Emery was charged with improving Arsenal’s defence when he was appointed last summer, however, since then they have made 14 errors leading to opposition goals and surrendered 10 penalties, placing them top one of Premier League sides in both categories.
Relegated Fulham are the only side that come close to the total of Arsenal for mistakes leading to goals – they left 12 year – . The statistics point to frailties.
When playing from the back the problems have been exacerbated by Arsenal’s battles. Emery’s side were unable to play Watford’s press on Sunday, their determination to play goal kicks eventually costing them a goal, and it was not the time.
In accordance with Opta’s complex metrics, Arsenal have surrendered 34 turnovers that were high this season. Amazingly, that than another Premier League side. By losing ownership near their goal, they paying the cost and are encouraging resistance pressure.
In a nutshell, the problems return to employees. “Emery inherited poor defenders,” adds Carragher. “He has attempted to move on Shkodran Mustafi, who made a great deal of errors, but at David Luiz they’ve signed a second guardian who makes mistakes and at Sokratis, the club have brought in someone else who’s perhaps not at the level where they need him.
“I can comprehend the signing of David Luiz as he was cheap and they wanted someone, but I am not his biggest fan and also to give away two penalties in four matches is not a terrific start in any respect. The problem is, which will not change, regardless of who the supervisor is. David Luiz has had plenty of managers and he’s always had exactly the same issues.”
However, the match of Sunday has placed the guy . Arsenal defenders not help emery, however their flaws are being vulnerable rather than protected.
On Sunday, Arsenal supporters were also entitled to wonder why Emery turned into Reiss Nelson, 19, 20, and Joe Willock, when they ought to have been protecting their lead. A midfield that was struggling suddenly became more extended and Watford took good advantage, subjecting the visitors.
Not having organisation and discipline in midfield has been summed up by the passing of play which resulted in Watford’s equaliser. Arsenal have been 10 minutes away from success, and Lucas Torreira their holding midfielder, was among five players stationed within the Watford box the hosts sprang and once an attack broke down.
David Luiz took the blame because of his filthy on Pereyra, however it should be pointed out that he only conceded three penalties in 160 Premier League appearances for Chelsea although it’s true that the Brazilian has been more prone to lapses of focus. In Arsenal, he is not being given anything.
“Sunday was unbelievable in how receptive it was,” says Carragher. “You do not see many games like that. It was embarrassing for Arsenal how simple it was to perform through them. They seemed like they could not run. You just need to look at that second half and also you can observe that the equilibrium of that team is not right.”
Emery is not reflected nicely on by These structural issues along with the fans at Vicarage Road made their frustrations clear when they booed the choice.
“It was not a good day for Emery in relation to how he’s seen by the Arsenal fans,” adds Carragher. “I think this is a big season for him. In the first season you get a bit of leeway, and I’d still say that they had a good time, but I think people will be looking more in the trainer than the players.
“People asked him in the conclusion of last season when they missed on the top four, and they’re questioning him again now. Could things change? Can he change the system to improve them? These players he is working with today are players he’s brought in, so it is down to him to begin getting results with them.”
Arsenal will have more options when new registering Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin come back from harm. Next summer they will be further strengthened by the coming of William Saliba from Saint Etienne. But their problems run deeper than individuals. Recent evidence suggests they’re not any closer to understanding the lessons of yesteryear.
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