It has already proven to be a tough season for followers of Arsenal. Heading into 2020 the London side were off the pace set by leaders Liverpool and the top four. Their pre-season goal of battling their way back into the Champions League looked to be ambitious, to say the least, and the board had recently trusted the club’s future to an inexperienced manager taking on his first post as senior team boss. Is Arsenal really the place for a gaffer to cut his teeth?
It wasn’t just any wet behind the ears leader, however. Arsenal had appointed former player and fans favourite Mikel Arteta. A man who had achieved great things in the famous club red before going on to study at the feet of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. As far as apprenticeships go, that’s got to be one of the best in the game.
Arteta must stop the leaks
Arteta’s short-term goals have been made clear, he must find a way to squeeze Arsenal into the top four and achieve it while working on a low budget. To have any chance of achieving that, the coaching staff must work to improve the Gunners’ defence. Arsenal scored 32 goals in their first 24 league matches. Finding the net wasn’t a problem. They started the year with a 2-0 win over rivals Man Utd, a result that helped boost team morale and confidence amongst supporters. The main worry lies at the opposite end of the pitch, however.
In the same period, Arsenal have conceded no less than 34 goals, an average of 1.4 goals per game. That stat left them with -2 in the goal difference tally and, for a team chasing the major prizes, a negative number is alarming. What can be done to improve things and help tighten up that leaky defence? When learning Arsenal have conceded just four fewer goals than Southampton out of the teams in the top half, it becomes obvious just how important finding a solution is to the club’s future.
Fixing an overly generous defence is easier said than done, of course. Yes, the Arsenal board could throw money at the situation and finance a couple of big name buys in January, but history tells us that’s a risky strategy. When purchasing a defender they are required to hit the ground running, understanding the challenges presented by the Premier League and taking to the task at hand quickly. Buying from another English Premier League club at this time of year would be costly, bringing in a new face from aboard a gamble.
Fans want success today
There are a few exceptions to the rule, however. Spanish defender Nacho Monreal proved to be an instant hit with fans and Emmanuel Eboue was a coach’s dream with his versatility, strength and fitness. These names are now a thing of the past, Arsenal looking to the future and seeking out the next big name. Arteta knew in taking this job, patience and time wouldn’t be a luxury afforded to him. He must spend well, coach well, win the dressing room and get things right first time.
The Gunners have put their faith in youth recently, but it hasn’t worked out as well as planned. The likes of Cohen Bramall, Krystian Bielik and Konstantinos Mavropanos are all talented young players with a big future ahead of them, but they didn’t develop nearly as quickly as Arsenal needed.
Many critics believe putting trust in younger players, looking to develop for the future, cost former boss Arsene Wenger success in the final few years of his Arsenal career. A team as big as the Londoners, with their huge expectations, need footballers good enough to perform and win trophies today. Most fans aren’t impressed by a healthy bank balance or low average age of the squad.
Backers have no lack of options
What does the second half of this season have in store for Arsenal and fans? It’s times of uncertainty at the Emirates but bookmakers believe they have a fair idea of what lies ahead between winter and spring, offering betting on The Gunners.
Liverpool are odds-on favourites to end their drought and win the Premier League title. The Reds are priced like the trophy is already in their cabinet and the form of Jurgen Klopp’s side makes that difficult to argue against.
Arsenal won’t be winning the league, that much has been obvious for quite some time now. There are other ways to back the team to improve, however, especially if you are looking to boost your bet with an online betting bonus while thinking Arsenal’s season can soar with a defensive boost. There is no lack of options available.
Bookmakers run with several Arsenal themed specials. You can back the team to finish in the top four at decent odds or even get your cash down on them winning a trophy. There are several trophy multiples available which will give you an interest for the remainder of the season.