Arsenal faces a pressing challenge, and it’s not the early goal concessions that might come to mind.
While they held strong against Nottingham Forest, conceding only in the 82nd minute, and kept a clean sheet against Crystal Palace, a deeper issue has emerged.
The Gunners began the season with a favorable schedule, facing teams that finished 10th or lower last season and with manageable travel distances.
However, none of the matches were without tension.
In the face of adversity, Arsenal exhibited resilience, demonstrated by their tense victory against a Forest side expected to struggle.
Their defensive prowess against Palace, even after a red card, showcased their determination.
Yet, against Fulham, they encountered their toughest challenge.
Andreas Pereira’s early goal shattered Premier League history as Arsenal conceded within the first minute.
This set the tone for a high-pressure match where every move had heightened significance.
Rather than reserving their heroic efforts for late moments, the Gunners were under pressure from the start, causing a shift in their approach.
This predicament isn’t exclusive to this season. Previous campaigns witnessed intense contests, such as clashes with Bournemouth and Southampton.
In the last season, Arsenal secured several one-goal margin victories, adding to the strain.
Comparatively, Manchester City managed to secure their wins with less anxiety.
The strategy of deploying Thomas Partey as a right-back has raised concerns. While Mikel Arteta aims for more control, the team’s grip on the game seems to be slipping.
This tactical choice has disrupted the fluidity witnessed last season.
Partey’s role in defense sacrifices Gabriel’s presence, impacting the team’s performance negatively.
The bench strength showcased Arteta’s depth of options, as players like Fabio Vieira and Eddie Nketiah had a significant impact when substituted.
Vieira’s determination and direct play led to crucial contributions. Nketiah’s confidence and focal point abilities offered Arsenal an edge.
The team’s ability to draw on its substitutes has improved.
Kai Havertz, signed from Chelsea, has faced challenges adapting to Arsenal’s expectations.
The German player’s transfer fee and previous performances have raised the bar of expectation.
Havertz’s misplaced pass led to fan frustration, hinting at potential scapegoating.
Arteta expressed belief in Havertz’s potential to rebound through goal-scoring exploits.
In summary, Arsenal’s challenges extend beyond early goal concessions.
Their resilience under pressure is notable, but reliance on last-minute heroics may not be sustainable.
Tactical choices, like deploying Partey at right-back, have disrupted their fluidity. Bench strength and impactful substitutions have emerged as a positive aspect.
Havertz’s struggles to meet expectations call for improved performance.
Arsenal must address these issues to ensure a more composed and successful campaign.