Arsenal have not scored a goal in an open match after Nicolas Pepe hit against Sheffield United. Mikel Arteta's men were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa on Sunday night, and a constant drought of creativity haunted the Gunners.
Under Unai Emery, Arsenal were weak defensively, but Aubameyang still showed the golden boot in the Spaniard's first season. Aubameyang has not scored an open goal this season since his first week against Fulham.
The play on the left is a fair argument for why the club captain doesn't shoot as often, but the 31-year-old has played his part frequently and successfully. Alexandre Lacazette is Arsenal's # 1 top scorer despite terrible form. The Frenchman missed another clear chance against the West Midlands club.
Questions are starting to grow even as Arteta broke the Gunners' miserable away kit against top 6 opponents with a win at Old Trafford. The apparent lack of central creativity will always go back to the "football reasons" cited for the omission of Mesut Ozil from the Premier League.
With an over-reliance on large areas for insertion, Arsenal became predictable. While the move, especially from Kieran Tierney, has been a good one, the team's style seems like Arsenal's side in need of Olivier Giroud rather than their current roster of astounding talent.
Arteta, still a very young and inexperienced manager, has a daunting task of energizing the locker room, raising their heads and finding solutions to the problems so obvious in his team's games.
The first thing Arteta needs to address is the lack of clinical trim in the last third. Lacazette was given countless opportunities to take shape. However, the Frenchman was unable to do this, and Arteta should rightfully look for opportunities for others.
Aubameyang presents an obvious central candidate, but it is not so simple. For a 31-year-old man to be effective, he needs help. The canopies, despite their quality, are not the best for the Gabonese forward. Either play from behind or when hitting a low block the possibility of poaching with low cuts and controlled low crosses. Both are possible thanks to the width of Arsenal.
In the center, the side is barren. Ozil is not returning, so where do the gunners gain momentum? Joe Willock's performances in the Europa League brought with them goals and even creativity. Not included in the matchday against Villa, it was a disappointment for the young man who did not receive an award for his performance.
While it's still damp, giving players like Willock a route to rewarding will be key to squad morale and motivation. Qualities that are clearly lacking in their current form.
While the partnership between Mohamed Elneni and Thomas Partey at United was right for the game, Artete needed to be versatile. Dani Ceballos could provide a more maneuverable partner for the Party, who was sorely lacking after takeoff. The Spaniard tried to make it across the middle of the pitch, but without additional midfield staff, to no avail.
Confidence in defense sounds naive, but it can reveal the attacking potential of Arsenal. The flexibility of Arsenal's side, mainly through Bukayo Saki and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the left, added security on the defensive but eliminated offensive stealth.
If you believe that Arsenal are to the left of Tierney and Gabriel, who were arguably the team's best players this season, it means Saka could be released further on the field. Whether in a wide position or behind a striker, Saka can be very creative, and that was before.
Finally, Willian's experiment may need to be paused. The only serious attacking game of the Brazilian took place on the opening day. Nicolas Pepe, while out of shape, represents a significant investment and has shown some form of goal-scoring in Europe. He needs playing time and the Europa League, while good for confidence, will not be able to develop him enough.
Arteta has two weeks to decide what he is going to do before going to Leeds. Further lowering the score will add real strength to the arguments against his tenure.
See also: President of Lille believes Arsenal has yet to see the best from Nicolas Pepe, amid statements by the Gunners began an investigation into the transfer
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Premier League table
|11||West Ham United||8||4||11|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion||8||-3||6|
|18||West Bromwich Albion||8||-11||3|
|Sleep, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||8|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||8|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||7|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||7|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United||6|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa||6|
|Fernandez, Bruno||Manchester United||5|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal palace||5|
|Grilish, Jack||Aston Villa||4|
|Mopey, Neil||Brighton & Hove Albion||4|
|Jimenez, Raul||Wolverhampton Wanderers||4|
|Player||Team||Red cards||Yellow cards|
|Evans, Johnny||Leicester City||0||4|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa||0||3|
|Thielemans, Yuri||Leicester City||0||3|
|Klich, Mateusz||Leeds United||0||3|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||3|
|Berge, Sander||Sheffield United||0||3|
|Walker Peters, Kyle||Southampton||0||3|
|Bisuma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||1||2|
|Egan, John||Sheffield United||1||2|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United||0||3|
|Cash, Matty||Aston Villa||0||3|
|Lewis, Jamal||Newcastle United||0||3|
|Fernandez, Bruno||Manchester United||0||2|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal palace||0||2|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||8|
|Grilish, Jack||Aston Villa||5|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa||4|
|Fernandez, Bruno||Manchester United||3|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United||3|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United||3|
|Sleep, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||2|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal palace||2|
|Mitrovic, Aleksandar||Fulham FC||2|
|Fornals, Pablo||West Ham United||2|
|Townsend, Andros||Crystal palace||2|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester city||2|
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