Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at league leaders Chelsea showed that Arsenal are simply not good enough to win the Premier League title. Despite at times dominating possession, the Gunners did not seem to have the strength, quality or big game know-how to beat the Blues.
It looked like men against boys at times. Chelsea were incisive and boss Antonio Conte knew exactly were the Gunners weak spots were and exploited them to perfection. In reality Chelsea probably did not really have to adapt their game much for the clash, as they recorded a relatively comfortable win.
Not looking at the opposition
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger seems to refuse to look at what the opposition side are going to do and adapt the team’s game to counteract it. Maybe the veteran Frenchman believes adapting to the other team’s tactics would be like admitting his team is not good enough.
However, that has been the main reason Arsenal have come unstuck against any opposition really in recent years. Every opposition boss does their homework on Arsenal and knows how they are going to play.
They never seem to change styles, so there is little homework to be done anyway on the Gunners. On Saturday full-backs Nacho Monreal and Gabriel, after he replaced Hector Bellerin insisted on raiding forward.
This left massive gaps for Eden Hazard and Pedro to exploit on the counterattack. The Blues do not need to dominate play, but they are devastating on the break. Players like Hazard, Pedro and Diego Costa have the intelligent to pull teams apart in quick breaks.
They cut through Arsenal, who seemed to once again lack steel in the centre of the park. The Gunners were missing the likes of Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka.
However, it is doubtful that either of those pair would have made a different against Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante in the centre of field. Arsenal may truly regret missing out on the signing of Kante.
Battle for top four
It seems now that the Premier League title is out of reach this season. The thing that the Gunners need to make sure of now is that they do not slip out of the Champions League spots.
The side from north London are now evens to finish in the top four this season. In a number of recent seasons, Arsenal have made hard work of finishing in the Champions League spots.
The Gunners usually finish in the top four, but they cannot continue to make the same mistakes over and over again if they ever have aspirations of being real title challengers in the future.
What went wrong for Arsenal at Chelsea?