Arsenal were defeated at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park on Sunday with Alexandre Lacazette’s brilliant 14th-minute opener overturned by Ayoze Perez in the 29th and Matt Ritchie in the 68th. This was the Gunners’ fifth consecutive Premier League defeat away from home.
Petr Cech spoke about the reason for this unwanted string of results, but he couldn’t find an explanation for it – he remains baffled. Having beaten Leicester City on Saturday, Burnley are now only two points behind, and with Arsenal needing to focus on the Europa League as well, the Cherries will certainly try to upset the odds and book a place in Europe. Of the teams that are currently above them, they play Chelsea in their next game, while Arsenal have Manchester United at Old Trafford in less than two weeks. It may well be that the head-to-head duel, scheduled to be played on May 6th at the Emirates, decides the occupant of the sixth place come the end of the season.
The Gunners have so far won only three of their 16 away games in the Premier League this season, and therein lies a big clue to their current table ranking.
Cech says the fact that Arsenal were excellent away from home in recent seasons makes it extremely difficult to comprehend what is happening in this campaign, and somewhat worryingly, he admits the team don’t have an answer to the problem. They are trying to address it, but the same things keep happening – they keep making team mistakes and are continuously getting punished for them.
The goalkeeper pointed out that such things just don’t happen when Arsenal play at the Emirates, which makes the situation even more baffling. He singled out the second goal by Newcastle as the perfect example of how the season has gone for the team – a devaluation of everything good that has been done by continuously making mistakes.