Struggles and inquires: Are they ever learn?
Arsenal’s capitulation from Watford on Sunday was the most recent reminder of those problems that continue to hamper them. In the end, despite having reached they have been lucky to emerge from Vicarage Road with some point.
That they averted conquer is little consolation to angry Arsenal fans who’ve seen it all before. A visit to the bottom side of the Premier League should have been a assignment. Instead, another masterclass was made by Arsenal .
On this occasion, the principal offenders were Sokratis Papastathopoulos, whose bad move from inside his own box allowed Tom Cleverley to evaluate Watford’s first goal, along with his centre-back partner David Luiz, who surrendered the punishment for the equaliser after he brought down Roberto Pereyra.
“For a long time, going back to when I was a child, Arsenal were known as a really solid team,” Jamie Carragher informs MNF Extra. “They have now gone completely the other way. They’re a team you anticipate stupid things to happen to. Even when they are 2-0 up, they can never convince you.
“I believe Liverpool had a similar issue a couple of decades back, underneath Brendan Rodgers and in the beginning under Jurgen Klopp. Regardless of what the situation was, you felt something could fail. What’s worrying for Arsenal is that it’s occurring again in Emery’s second season.”
The individual mistakes are a consistent theme of the Spaniard’s tenure. Emery was charged with improving the defence of Arsenal when he was appointed but since then they have made 14 errors leading to resistance goals and surrendered 10 penalties, putting them high one of Premier League sides in both categories.
Relegated Fulham are the only side that come close to the complete of Arsenal for mistakes resulting in targets – they left 12 year – but even more worrying to the Gunners is that three sides have faced more shots on target. The statistics point to defensive frailties that are deep-rooted.
When playing out from the trunk, the problems have been exacerbated by the battles of Arsenal. Emery’s side were not able to play Watford’s press on Sunday, their determination to perform with goal that is brief kicks eventually costing them a goal, and it was not the time.
According the complex metrics of Opta, Arsenal have conceded this year to 34 turnovers. Amazingly, that than any other Premier League side. They are currently encouraging resistance pressure and paying the price by repeatedly losing ownership near their goal.
In part, the problems come down to personnel. “Emery inherited bad defenders,” adds Carragher. “He’s attempted to move on Shkodran Mustafi, who produced a lot of errors, but in David Luiz they’ve signed another defender who makes mistakes and at Sokratis, the team have brought in someone else who is perhaps not at the point where they want him.
“I can comprehend the registering of David Luiz because he was economical and they needed someone, but I am not his biggest fan and also to give away two penalties in four games isn’t a wonderful start whatsoever. The issue is, which will not change. David Luiz has plenty of supervisors and he’s always had exactly the same issues.”
Nevertheless, the guy has been placed by Sunday’s game . Arsenal defenders not help emery, however their flaws are being exposed rather than protected.
On Sunday, Arsenal fans were eligible to wonder if they should have been protecting their lead Emery turned to Reiss Nelson, 19, 20, also Joe Willock. A midfield which struggled suddenly became more stretched and Watford took benefit, exposing the traffic to a barrage of 23 shots in the second half.
Not having organisation and discipline in midfield has been summed up by the passage of play which led to the equaliser of Watford. Arsenal had been 10 minutes away in victory, and Lucas Torreira, ostensibly their midfielder, was among five red-shirted players stationed within the Watford box when an assault broke down along with the hosts sprang forward.
David Luiz took the blame because of his succeeding filthy on Pereyra, but although it’s true that the Brazilian has been prone to lapses of focus, it should be pointed out that he only conceded three penalties. He is not being given anything.
“Sunday was incredible in how receptive it was,” says Carragher. “You don’t see many matches like that. It was embarrassing for Arsenal it had been to play them. They looked like they could not run. You just need to consider that second half and also you may realize that the equilibrium of that team is not perfect.”
Those issues don’t reflect on Emery and the traveling enthusiasts at Vicarage Road made their frustrations clear if they booed the choice.
“It wasn’t a fantastic afternoon for Emery in terms of how he’s seen from the Arsenal fans,” adds Carragher. “I feel this can be a big season for him. In the first season you get a little bit of leeway, and I say they had a decent time, but I believe people will look more at the trainer than the players.
“People asked him in the conclusion of last season when they missed out on the top , and they are questioning him again now. Could he change things? Could he change the machine? These players he’s working with today are players he has earned, so it’s down to him to start getting results with them.”
Arsenal is going to have more options when Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and brand new signing Kieran Tierney return from injury. They will be further fortified by the arrival of William Saliba from Saint Etienne. But their problems run deeper than individuals. Evidence indicates they’re no closer to learning the lessons of yesteryear.
Struggles and inquires: Are they ever learn?