THE END OF ARSENAL’S 22-GAME UNBEATEN RUN
Charlie Austin’s howler from Bernd Leno sealed Southampton’s eventual victory over Arsenal last Sunday, ending the Gunners’ 22-game unbeaten streak. The Saints had taken the lead twice that match, stunning the then-reigning team.
The aftermath of the Arsenal defeat made so much dramatic change in the Premier League’s landscape. Southampton is currently occupying the 17th place in the league table even after their win over the Gunners, yet the latter fell to the fifth instantly while Liverpool now stands at the top.
With the hardly earned unbeaten streak cut short and the squad already suffering two defeats, here are the lessons from Arsenal’s rise and fall:
Youngsters should be given a chance
In an otherwise dull match, Arsenal 19-year-old Eddie Nketiah showed off, ruling a goal out for offside after the break in the Gunners’ 1-0 win over Qarabag in their Europa League campaign.
Meanwhile 17-year-old Bukayo Saka made his debut for the Gunners in the same match. Despite failing to score a goal, Saka had made a good impression to Emery showing a great combination of confidence, skill, and potential. He tested goalkeeper Vagner with an early strike and take on defenders with calculated and graceful pace.
Arsenal’s Europa League campaign had also seen good performances from other teenagers such Emile Smith Rowe, and Joe Willock.
Smith Rowe struck the opening goal of the Gunners’ 3-0 over Vorskla in Europa back in November.
Emery’s introduction of these youngsters into the field made their campaigns abroad a colorful experience. This should tell them that they should put more attention to their youth academy.
Good management is the key
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger left his position as the team manager after almost 22 years last summer. Arsenal had seen their last glory days under Wenger in the 1990s and early 2000s, and they had since then fallen from those times.
Within just six months after Unai Emery replaced Wenger in office, the Gunners began to feel a huge difference. Although Arsenal’s 22-match unbeaten streak was cut short, the number is enough for Emery that the Gunners are no easy rivals in the league.
Arsenal’s defense still a problem
One of the reasons that prompt former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was his inability to improve the team’s defense, and the same old problem still haunts the new coach Unai Emery. Within the present league season, Arsenal already conceded 23 goals, higher than the Wolves’ 19 or Tottenham’s 16.
The Gunners’ weak defense remaining largely ignored and unimproved costed their first defeat after 22 matches, cutting short what could have been a longer unbeaten run. During their last match with Arsenal, Shane Long sent a cross towards Charlie Austin. Bernd Leno came to the ball but unfortunately missed it.
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