Over the past two months or so, results in the Premier League have been far below the expected standard for Arsenal football club, and fingers have been pointed in almost every possible direction as people demand a solution to the Gunners’ problems.
So far this season, Arsenal rank 17th in the league for shots per game, beating only Crystal Palace, Burnley and Newcastle. The Gunners have managed, on average, 9.5 attempts per match, their lowest in the Premier League era.
A total of 13 points from 10 games is the Gunners’ worst start to a league campaign since the 1981-82 season, and manager Mikel Arteta has become the first Arsenal manager since Terry Neill in 1977 to lose three consecutive home league matches.
To say Arsenal’s current situation is a disaster would be an understatement, yet despite the awful start, Arteta’s side somehow remain just five points off the top 4, in what has been an incredibly unusual start to the Premier League season.
When results are as bad as this, blame is normally pushed towards the manager, however this time round, it feels slightly different. Whether this is due to fans simply being tired of changing managers or not, the majority of pressure is being put on the players, rather than the man who leads them.
Arsenal have had four managers in the space of two and a half years, yet little has changed, and the only constant left, in terms of results, is the players. So is it time for Arteta to put more trust in the youth?
In another damaging defeat against Wolves on Sunday, many of the senior players looked disinterested and hopeless, something that’s been a rarity during Arteta’s reign at the club, however the only attacking players who looked like they wanted to make a difference, were the three who were brought up in Arsenal’s academy.
Whenever Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock or Reiss Nelson got the ball, their first thought was to try to drive the ball forward, something that cannot be said for the more senior members of the Arsenal team.
Arsenal’s young gunners had a hunger about them, dragging the team up the pitch at times with their enthusiasm. Whilst they may not have the same maturity as the more experienced players, they could certainly teach them a thing or two about what it means to play for Arsenal.
The intensity and passion in Arsenal’s play seems to have dropped drastically since last season, and half the team don’t look motivated anymore, however you would sincerely hope this won’t be a problem with the North London Derby coming up on Sunday.
However, if the Gunners struggle in this regard again, is it worth going for a younger side? Whilst the quality may not be as good, the determination will certainly be better, and would you prefer to see someone like Reiss Nelson given game time to develop, instead of Willian who has disappointed and won’t improve much more?
Personally, I doubt Arteta would make this change, however it would not only reward the young players for their persistence, but it would also give a lot of players a kick up the backside to let them know their places in the team aren’t guaranteed.
In my opinion, I wouldn’t make this change before a game like the North London derby, however if these issues persist, a radical change up could be worth a go for Mikel Arteta.
*all stats provided by @Orbinho.