Mike Arteta led Arsenal to their third defeat of the new English Premier League campaign after suffering a 5-0 defeat during their defeat at Etihad Stadium.
It’s was indeed a dark day for the Gunners! During a review of the game on Saturday afternoon, Boona FM senior Sports Analyst Julius Adams Nsereko dug deep into what led to Arsenal’s ugly performance on Saturday afternoon.
Adams says that the 39-year-old Spanish professional also Arsenal’s boss made the 3 biggest mistakes in his selection, that led to his team’s third consecutive defeat of the EPL season. Which is Arsenal’s worst season start in history.
1. Playing a Five-Man Defense Against City
“Though Arteta had go intentions when he lined up a five-man defense squad against Man city, his selection negatively affected Arsenal’s gameplay.
“With five defenders on the pitch, Arsenal was forced to play defensively and were in no way any sort of goal threat to Man City. Because of this style of play, Arteta’s men managed to create only one goal-scoring chance in the match and registered no shot on target.
“When playing a team like Man City, you have to take on the fight in the midfield. You need hard players that can win balls and with great passing accuracy.
“When you deny City from playing their shot passes and bag their ‘ball playing’ midfielders, there you can control the game.
“Arteta starting the back 5 system was to allow City control the game in the midfield and giving them (City) freedom to play in the Arsenal’s half and playing too close to their 18-yard box all the time. With the poor quality of defenders, Jack Grealish and Gundogan found no problem to press killer passes to break Arsenal’s wall.
“Arsenal boss had to play at least 5 midfielders but not 5 defenders at Man City. So, it was a big mistake!” – Analyst Julius Adams Nsereko says.
2. Using One Proper Midfielder In His Lineup
“The 28-year-old Swiss international footballer Granit Xhaka was the only proper midfielder in Arteta’s lineup.
“Because of this Man City enjoyed over 80 percent of ball possession and things even became worst for Arsenal when Xhaka was sent off in the first half of the match, after a harsh challenge against Cancelo.
“He is hard and also a fighter but Xhaka was not clean to face Man City as a lonely player at number 6. When playing a ‘ball playing’ team, you need intelligent, focus, and patient midfielders, the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Albert Sambi Lokonga, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles that can win the ball from the opponents, block passes without fouling. It is not common to see Xhaka winning a ball from the opponent without a foul.
“Arteta had to start at least with two or three holding midfielders. They could win balls, with Odegaard and Smith-Rowe playing in front of them as they help the team to go forward.
“Arsenal had an ugly performance because of the coach’s poor selection,” Julius Adams Nsereko asserts.
3. Using Only One Experienced Forward
“Despite having the 30-year-old French forward Alexandre Lacazette fully fit on the bench, Arteta preferred using only one experienced striker in his lineup.
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was placed with the task of single-handedly leading Arsenal’s attack alongside the club’s inexperienced young forwards, Saka, Odegaard, and Smith-Rowe who were all paired to play with Xhaka in the midfield. It was no surprise why the 32-year-old Gabonese striker had a quiet game and was substituted in the second half and replaced with Lacazette.
“Since Arsenal was 3 goals down at Halftime, I actually thought, Arteta would change the formation from back five to back four to bring in a holding midfielder to partner with Xhaka to block Man City passes but unfortunately still he had low substitution decisions.
“Arteta and his coaching staff are the reason why Arsenal was humiliated at Etihad,” Adams said.
Arsenal with face Norwich in their next premier league match on Saturday, September 11th at 5:00 pm a week after the international break.