Arsenal’s defence are going to cost them a place in the top 4

Going into Sunday’s match, Arsenal needed 3 points if they wanted to keep up the pace in the battle for the top 4 with the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United all winning the previous day. With their opponents being bottom of the table Watford who had yet to win any of their opening 4 Premier League games and who recently sacked manager Javi Gracia and brought in former manager Quique Sanchez Flores, it looked like it would be an easy test for Arsenal. Thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace Arsenal found themselves 2-0 up inside the first 31 minutes at Vicarage Road and on course for 3 points. However, after a poor second half Arsenal let Watford back into the game with Tom Cleverley and Roberto Pereyra scoring in the second half to earn Watford a point. The added to Arsenal’s poor away form under Unai Emery with Arsenal only winning 8 out of a possible 22 Premier League away games since the start of the 18/19 season. With Arsenal’s defence clearly being the weakest area of their team regarding yesterday’s clash with Watford and their poor away form in general, we think that’s the area that is going to cost Arsenal a place in the top 4 at the end of the season.

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Focusing on attack rather than defence

Despite bringing in 2 defensive players in the summer transfer window (as well as sending centre back William Saliba on loan to Saint-Etienne) it’s clear than Arsenal focused on improving their attack and midfield over their defence after signing winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m and bringing in midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid. David Luiz didn’t seem to be the type of player that was going to substantially improve Arsenal’s defence and the fact that he has conceded 2 penalties in 4 games for Arsenal proves it. Since Tierney has yet to feature for Arsenal we can’t say whether he has been a good signing or not, despite having an impressive time at Celtic it’s uncertain whether Tierney will be able to have the same impact in the Premier League.

Arsenal are clearly struggling because of their defence as no team in Europe’s top 5 leagues has faced more shots this season than Arsenal who have faced 96 shots across their opening 5 Premier League games with 31 being on target. To put that into perspective, Derby County who hold the record for finishing a Premier League season with the lowest number of points (11) faced less shots in their opening 5 Premier League fixtures during the 07/08 season than Arsenal have during their opening 5 Premier League fixtures this season.

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Their defence aren't confident away from home

Like previously stated, it’s Arsenal’s away form which is severely letting them down as Unai Emery has only won 8 of his 22 Premier League games since he took over from Arsene Wenger. However, Arsenal’s poor away form stretches back to when Wenger was incharge as Arsenal haven’t beaten a top 6 club away from home in 23 Premier League games, with their last away win against the top 6 happening in January 2015 when they beat Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium. Whether it be a domestic away game or a European final, whenever Arsenal concede, instead of getting their heads back in the game in the focusing they panic and end up conceding more goals. With the fact that Arsenal have conceded first in 3 of their last 6 games in all competitions it's clear that the mentality of Arsenal’s defence needs to improve when they go behind in games, especially when they don’t have home advantage to help them.

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