Following four-five weeks of breath-taking and non-stop footballing action, the Premier League has finally taken a short hiatus of two weeks as the UEFA Nations League is underway.
This, however, has given us the chance to take a closer look at some of the Premier League sides.
Despite the departure of Arsene Wenger, who was a subject of some harsh criticism at the end of last season, Arsenal seem to be receding into further mediocrity under new coach Unai Emery.
The Spaniard is yet to bring any sort of identity to the squad, even though it’s still early days, and here are three areas he needs to improve if he is to make a better impression this season.
#3 Bernd Leno should be given his chance
Much to the disappointment of the Arsenal fans, Unai Emery is yet to hand new signing Bernd Leno his Premier League debut. Instead, the Spaniard has continued to trust Petr Cech.
Although we are in no position to criticise the former Chelsea superstar’s credibility when it comes to goalkeeping especially given his impressive record in the past, the drastic change in football tactics seems to be getting the better of him.
Cech has struggled with his footwork, something that has become an essential trait for any modern-day keeper. Watching him play out from the back in the opening weeks of this season has been a bit like a football player trying his luck in cricket.
And that’s where Leno comes into the fray. The former Leverkusen keeper is known for his qualities on the ball just as much as his shot-stopping abilities. Therefore, he definitely deserves a chance to prove his credentials in the English top flight, sooner rather than later.
#2 The defence needs to bugger up
At the time when Unai Emery took over charge at Arsenal, his primary aim was to solidify Arsenal’s backline by bringing in experienced defenders like Sokratis and Stephan Lichtsteiner. Ironically, however, the defence has emerged as Arsenal’s biggest problem this season, having already conceded eight goals in four matches – a disappointing tally matched or bettered by only four other clubs.
Although it’s fair to point out the fact that the Gunners have missed the services of club captain Laurent Koscielny, who is sidelined with a long-term injury, the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis certainly need to improve their overall game.
Sokratis, in particular, has failed to assert his authority in defence, often getting caught out of position or lacking the sufficient speed to deal with the agile Premier League attackers. Thus, he definitely needs to improve on his defensive output if he is to make a strong impression in the English top flight this season.
#1 Aubameyang and Lacazette should start together more frequently
More often than not, coach Unai Emery has opted to start only one of Aubameyang or Lacazette whilst leaving the other on the bench. This, however, needs to change given the impact they had made when both the strikers played together, especially in the second half of games this season.
Aubameyang has scored only one goal in four matches but has been a first team regular. Lacazette, on the other hand, has featured in only 185 minutes of action this campaign and achieved the same feat.
But, if they are deployed together upfront, Arsenal could become much more dynamic and lethal thanks to their speed and goal-scoring prowess.