Arsenal supporters have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their side make it nine wins in a row in all competitions on Sunday.
Unai Emery’s men went into their encounter with Fulham having won each of their previous five Premier League matches, alongside two wins in the Europa League and victory over Brentford in the Carabao Cup. And the Gunners recorded a ninth straight success in emphatic fashion at Craven Cottage at the weekend, with braces from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang alongside a wonderful Aaron Ramsey goal sealing a comprehensive 5-1 win for the North London giants, thus moving them to within two points of leaders Manchester City.
As such, there have been many thrilled Arsenal fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from ex-midfielder and now Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has delivered a damning verdict on the Gunners, specifically their backline.
In fact, the Englishman has stated that Emery’s men ‘will be on the end of a big score’ in the not-too-distant future, and while nothing should be taken away from their excellent recent run, their vulnerabilities at the back will surely be exploited by better teams in the future – thus, Merson is spot on to underline his concern.
Ultimately, the Gunners suffered defeats in their opening two games of the campaign to Manchester City and Chelsea, both games of which they carried a threat going forward, but were very shaky at the back – they could have easily shipped more than two against Pep Guardiola’s Citizens.
And while they have recently embarked upon a nine-match winning streak, those results have somewhat papered over their defensive cracks, with it arguable that goalkeeper Petr Cech has been their outstanding performer in the early phase of the campaign prior to his injury against Watford.
They were seriously struggling against West Ham back in August in trailing 1-0 and being outplayed by Manuel Pellegrini’s side, only to turn it around in the second half, before conceding twice against Neil Warnock’s goal-shy Cardiff the week after – those goals represent half of the goals the Bluebirds have scored this term.
And while they kept clean sheets against Everton and Watford in recent home games, they had Cech to thank for keeping them in it against the former, while the latter certainly created enough dangerous situations that better teams would probably have turned into goals.
Yes, the Gunners deserve huge credit for the winning run they are putting together, but it certainly hasn’t been as straight-forward as it looks – the fact they have won those matches despite not always been on top underlines a different side to this Arsenal team.
But those defensive concerns, especially with injuries to Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis alongside the unconvincing Shkodran Mustafi, have been exploited by some of the division’s lesser teams, and as such will surely be exploited by some of the league’s top sides – that game against Liverpool in November will underline exactly where this team are at.
And having struggled against City and Chelsea earlier in the campaign, Merson is spot on with his damning verdict of the Gunners’ defensive deficiencies.
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