On Saturday afternoon, Arsenal suffered a 5-0 defeat at Manchester City. Even before the first-half dismissal of midfielder Granit Xhaka, the Gunners were in trouble. The Switzerland midfielder’s departure just added to their woes.
The defeat at the Etihad Stadium means that Arsenal has lost all three of their Premier League this season. The start has already raised question marks over whether head coach Mikel Arteta can turn things around.
A poor start to the season
On paper, Arsenal were always going to find things tough at the beginning of the Premier League campaign. The fact that the Gunners were facing London rivals Chelsea and reigning champions Manchester City was always going to make life difficult.
It was not necessarily the defeats against the two likely title contenders that was worrying, it was the performances. It was the way they just fell apart defensively and at times even looked short of ideas going forward.
The early season defeat that will have hurt the most will have been the 2-0 opening weekend loss at new boys Brentford. The Bees may still be unbeaten in their three top-flight games this season, but it’s the sort of game that Arsenal should be getting something from.
The defeat produced the same problems in defence, despite the Gunners having spent £50m on a new centre-back in Ben White.
Arteta needs to turn things around quickly
If Arsenal fans were being honest, the poor start to the campaign is not just down to head coach Mikel Arteta. The Gunners problems run deeper than the head coach. These are problems that they had under the legendary Arsene Wenger.
A soft centre has run through that Arsenal team for close to a decade now. It is either a soft centre or Granit Xhaka going to the other extreme. The rebuilding job may well be beyond the rookie coaching skills of Arteta.
A good head coach can turn water into wine. At the moment Arteta has turned the water into some bargain-basement lager that only the truly hammered would drink. A good boss may not turn the Gunners into world-beaters, but they would maybe produce a more solid team at least.
Arsenal needed an experienced head coach with a history of stability when they hired Arteta. The former Manchester City assistant head coach may well become a very good head coach in the future, but he has only shown limited flashes of that potential in his time at Arsenal. He needs to turn things around quickly before the hierarchy decide that he is not capable of moving the team forward.
A decent run of fixtures
Luckily enough for Arteta, after the international break, Arsenal have what looks like a good opportunity to get back on track with a decent run of fixtures, on paper anyway. If the Gunners don’t pick up results in the next few months, then it will be positive proof that there may need to be a change at the Arsenal helm.
However, Arteta’s team may just finally show their quality in the next few gameweeks and kick-start their season. They certainly need something to change otherwise the Gunners are in for another nothing season in the Premier League.
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Can Mikel Arteta turn things around at Arsenal?