- Arsenal will be competing on many fronts during 2023/24
- Mikel Arteta is a victim of a number of injuries since the beginning of this new season
- The Gunners face a busy festive schedule
While they complain about officiating, Arsenal is a very efficient team that looks capable of competing in multiple areas this season.
The Gunners’ hopes of a (another) unbeaten Premier League season were shattered by a controversial loss at St. James’ Park. However, they are only a single point behind league leaders Manchester City who aim to be the first team to ever win four consecutive English league titles.
The history suggests that a different name will appear on the Premier League Trophy next May. Arsenal has a good chance to unseat Pep Guardiola’s unstoppable juggernaut.
Mikel Arteta has the opportunity to take stock and evaluate his life before the holiday season.
What the Gunners must do to prepare for their return away to Brentford.
Rediscover a creative spark
Arsenal’s offensive play from last season seems to have lost its novelty. The Gunners faced deeper defences as 2022/23 went on, and this theme continued in the new season.
Arsenal has struggled to beat teams this season, except for their 5-0 demolition of Sheffield United. Arteta has become predictable in his patterns, and they have struggled to break down defences at times. The boss is also unable to use his preferred front six due to injury, and the performance of Martin Odegaard in particular has been scrutinized.
Arteta seems to have put more emphasis on security than attacking freedom. As a result, the Gunners open play xG (per game) has dropped from 1,68, last season. Arsenal will win the league with a stronger defence, but they must also match City’s performance at the opposite end.
Arteta is currently the fifth highest scoring team in the league, yet they have already scored five fewer goals than Cityzens. Moreover, the open-play xG of Cityzens ranks 12th amongst all teams in their division. If these problems with chance creation continue, the Gunners will not win a title.
Restore the stars to their former glory
Gabriel Jesus, Odegaard Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have missed time this season due to injury, which is doubtless a factor in Arsenal’s diminished potency in their final third.
Jurrien Timber’s ACL tear set the tone for this season on opening weekend. Arsenal seems to be dealing with a new set of injuries every week. Odegaard is with Timber, along with Ben White, Thomas Partey and Emile S. Rowe, as they head into the break. Jesus was also called up but Brazil still wanted him and he could play against Argentina .
Arteta’s performance has helped Arsenal to overcome their injury problems. It was important that they win back-to-back matches before the holiday break. As we near the holiday season, the manager needs to get some key players back.
Jesus, Odegaard and White should be back for Arsenal’s visit to Brentford in November. Arteta cannot afford to have any of the Gunners injured players return too soon, due to their hectic schedule.
Kai Havertz is not the only alternative
Kai Havertz struggled to start his Arsenal career. Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Arteta may have been influenced by his ego to convince Arsenal to pay PS65m for Kai Havertz during the summer. The German forward scored the only goal of the final of 2021 Champions League, but few Chelsea fans were sad to say goodbye.
His Arsenal career began in a similar way. The most noteworthy contribution was a reckless tackle on Sean Longstaff during the Gunners defeat against Newcastle. This challenge sparked an intense debate about the appropriate colour card.
Havertz has yet to make a goal in open play for his new team and only one assist. Arteta continues to push him in the team, but so far he has proven himself to be a good target when it comes to chasing down a match. He’s a good header, can compete in ground duels and is a strong presser, but has offered little so far when it comes to possession.
Arteta must consider other options because Havertz failed to replace Granit Xhaka in the number 8 left side role. Maybe Odegaard can move to the other side of the field, or Oleksandr Ziinchenko may perform better higher on the pitch.
Please pray for Declan Rice’s and WilIam Sliba’s safe return.
Declan Rice, and William Saliba are the two most outstanding performers for the Arsenal team at the beginning of the 2023/24 season.
Saliba was a key player for the Gunners in the final stretch of last season. He has started all 23/24 matches since recovering from his back injury. Saliba is quickly becoming one of the best players in the world, which is crucial for Arteta’s goals.
Rice is also a player who has barely stepped wrong. Since joining West Ham, he has become a mainstay in the team. In big matches, he has been the ultimate stabiliser in Partey’s absence. Rice has a versatile performance and it’s hard to imagine the Gunners without him.
The players are both on international duty over the holiday break. Supporters would do well to pray for them to return unharmed to London Colney.