Interim manager Freddie Ljungberg has several problems on his hands at Arsenal. Their comeback win over West Ham was their first in the Premier League for over two months, but their poor form has left them a long way from the business end of the table.
With games against Manchester City and Chelsea on the horizon in December, the Swede needs to find a solution to his squad’s issues sooner rather than later if they are to save this campaign. Here are three of his biggest problems:
Defensive injury crisis
While that win over the Hammers was much needed, it came at a pretty severe cost for the Gunners. Hector Bellerin pulled out in the warm-up with a muscle injury and Kieran Tierney was substituted early in the first half with a shoulder injury.
A change in system could now be necessary. Playing with five at the back, for instance, could help stand-in full-backs Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac defensively thanks to the introduction of another centre-half.
The engine room has been an issue for both Ljungberg and Unai Emery so far this season. There are still obvious question marks surrounding the future of Granit Xhaka at the club following his run-in with supporters. Loan signing Dani Ceballos has not been fit, paving the way for Lucas Torreira to be one of the first names on the teamsheet of late. The Uruguayan’s best performances last season came in a deeper role (as highlighted by The Telegraph), sweeping up the tackles and interceptions for the Gunners. Getting him back to his best will be crucial going into the new year.
How to solve a problem like Alexandre Lacazette?
Lacazette had a standout season for the Gunners last year, scoring 19 times in all competitions, but he has failed to recapture that form so far this term. He’s only scored five league goals and has struggled for form of late, failing to score in six of his 10 league appearances this term. He was left on the bench against West Ham and his partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that was so lethal last season seems to have lost its potency. Integrating the two strikers into the same team and getting them both firing could propel Arsenal into a serious threat in the Premier League once more.
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