Almost directly on the back of losing our first league game at home since December, fans vented their frustrations far and wide on the glaring lack of quality and creativity in the final third.
For me it was the worst performance under Arteta by a long stretch in a game that sent shivering reminders of Unai Emery. Maybe not in the shape of conceding lots of shots, more the fact we were passive and struggled to move the ball quickly and with purpose between the middle and final thirds.
Arsenal had 11 shots in the first half compared to just 1 in the second half. The second being the worst maybe since the Europa League final or the latter games of the 18/19 season.
Leicester’s game plan was abundantly clear which makes it even more frustrating. With key man Jamie Vardy only fit enough for the bench, Leicester attempted to operate with Harvey Barnes as a false nine and try to contain Arsenal until the latter stages of the game which is exactly how it unfolded.
It was the first time Arteta had opted to use a 4-3-3 this season with Partey, Xhaka and Ceballos starting for the first time together and to be honest it was a disaster from start to finish. We seriously missed a creative link into the final third with Xhaka operating in the left back space more often than not and Ceballos pulling wide on the other side. It seriously hindered us and it is easy to understand why we really lack potency, cutting edge and a low amount of shots per game.
Lacazette was unlucky to have had a goal ruled out early on for offside but that should excuse his frankly embarrassing profligacy. He later missed Arsenal’s greatest chance by somehow managing to steer Kieran Tierney’s cross wide with goal gaping from 2 yards. I think it’s realistically time we cut our losses with Lacazette, we have a world class frontman in Aubameyang and it is inexcusable to keep playing him out wide to accommodate the Frenchman.
On the whole I think this was a massive reality check for us. As much as we have progressed well I think it was a reminder that there is a hell of a long way to go before we are back at a level to compete for titles but we really need to improve. I want us to dominate matches but I do not think we can do that with Lacazette and Ceballos starting often. We need to get to January and be within touching distance of the top four and if we can do that and add that creative player we need then I feel we can still have a good season.
Occasional writer who follows the Arsenal home and away. Dennis is our greatest ever.