Arsenal enjoyed a positive start to their 2019/20 Premier League campaign, thanks to a narrow away win over Newcastle United on Saturday. However, in this article, we will discuss three issues Unai Emery needs to address if Arsenal are to challenge for the Premier League this season
Defending from set-pieces
Lack of defensive stability has often let Arsenal down in crunch situations over the past few years. And this season could be no different. Although the Gunners will be boosted by the arrival of David Luiz from Chelsea, their reliable centre-back in Sokratis looked very clumsy in his performance against Newcastle.
Especially when defending the last-minute set-piece from the Magpies, the Greek international was all over the place and was almost on the verge of conceding the equaliser. Mistakes like these might not bode well for Arsenal even if they perform well offensively.
Better crossing play
Arsenal under Emery has been a team that often relies on counter-attacks. But, the quality of a counter-attack depends on the final ball and most often than not, it comes as a form of a cross. And that’s where Arsenal need to improve.
In their approach play, the North London giants mostly look to thread passes in behind the defence or play quick one-twos. In fact, only three teams amassed fewer crosses than Arsenal last season. Even against Newcastle, they put in ten crosses, which is among the lowest in the league in Matchday 1.
Arsenal certainly love to have the lion’s share of possession when coming up against an inferior team. But, most often than not, their players are guilty of losing possession far too quickly, especially the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Giving away the ball for cheap allows the opposition to create quick turnovers and initiate counter attacks. Therefore, the Arsenal attackers need to show a bit more composure in the final third and retain possession of the ball for a more extended period. This is the exact quality that makes Liverpool and Manchester City such a quality team.