Arsenal will have plenty of soul-searching to do over the next fortnight after their dismal start to the season continued with a chastening loss at Manchester City.
The Gunners were thrashed 5-0 by the champions at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, a result that left them still without a point, or even a goal, after their first three Premier League games.
It is the London club’s worst start to a season in 67 years and pressure is mounting on manager Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal are now not in action until hosting another point-less side in Norwich on September 11 and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sounded a rallying cry as the team signed off for the international break.
“I think we need to talk between us players,” said the striker in his post-match interviews.
“I think this is now important because we are Arsenal and we need pride. We have to talk and say the truth between each other, be honest and raise the level.
“For sure (it) is going to be difficult, but we are a team. We have to stick together in this moment.”
Arsenal failed to muster a single shot on target in a shambolic performance in which they were completely overrun by City.
The hosts raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 12 minutes with goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres. Arsenal’s afternoon then went from bad to worse when Granit Xhaka was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Joao Cancelo on 35 minutes.
City took full advantage of their numerical advantage to complete a second successive 5-0 rout with further goals from Gabriel Jesus, Rodri and Torres.
Coming in a week in which City failed to sign either Harry Kane or Cristiano Ronaldo, it was an emphatic reminder that their squad remains a formidable one even without a world-class centre forward.
Gundogan said: “From the experience of last season – we didn’t have a number nine throughout nearly the whole season, so we’re kind of used to that.
“We just try to make the best out of it. We try to be flexible, to rotate up front and just try to create as much as possible to score as much as possible.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of this team, of this group of players and, obviously, when you’re able to put performances like that on the pitch, then even more. It’s a day full of happiness.”
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