Arsenal have always been a team renowned for their defensive qualities. The old song ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ was spawn from the Gunners defence being watertight.
Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw at Bournemouth may well be remembered for the Gunners superb comeback from three goals down. However, we must not forget that Arsene Wenger’s side looked very shaky at the back.
A very disappointing defensive display
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has used tiredness as an excuse for the team’s disappointing display at Bournemouth. However, the Cherries also played at the weekend, albeit it 24 hours before the Gunners.
The mistakes that were made by the Gunners were simple ones. Two of Arsenal’s usually more reliable defenders Hector Bellerin and Shkodran Mustafi had poor nights. Bellerin was arguably at fault for two of the home side’s goals, while Mustafi seemed to be nervous and made a few rash challenges.
This lack of solidity was not just in the Bournemouth game either. The Gunners have kept just two clean sheets in their last 15 outings in all competitions. One of those was against Crystal Palace, were Petr Cech had to produce some decent saves and the Eagles also missed chances.
Arsenal cannot depend on the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud getting enough goals to win games. The defensive players need to start looking solid again.
Midfielders should protect the defence
Arsenal started Tuesday’s game with two players Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin that could be described as defensive midfielders. They should be the players bailing out their defence. However, they struggled against a vibrant display from Bournemouth.
In fact, Xhaka was the player who gave away the penalty kick for the Cherries to double their lead on 20 minutes. He produced a clumsy challenge on winger Ryan Fraser and understandably the referee pointed to the spot.
Unlikely to win the Premier League title
Tuesday night’s draw with Bournemouth leaves Arsenal eight points behind league leaders Chelsea and odds of 16/1 to win to win the title.
League leaders Chelsea face a difficult trip to face Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham on Wednesday night. A Blues win could mean that the Gunners are 11 points behind Antonio Conte’s side in the race for the title.
It seems very unlikely that Arsenal will win the Premier League title this season. One of the reasons for the Gunners failing to win the league may well turn out to be the team’s poor defensive performances.
Who is to blame for Arsenal’s defensive concerns?