Arsenal have taken a turn for the worse. After being fourth in the table and heading towards Champions League football for the first time since 2017, the Gunners have lost three matches in a row.
Those were supposed to be the winnable ones, too. Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton are by no means pushovers – but looking at the next three opponents, Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham, Mikel Arteta is facing the possibility of losing six games in a row.
It's compounded by a lack of firepower up top, as captain Alexandre Lacazette sat out the weekend's defeat with illness. And one stat has truly underlined the depth of the issues on the red side of north London.
No striker in Arsenal's team has scored from open play in an away league match in the Premier League all season. The Gunners have played two formations, primarily – a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 – and still, whoever is tasked with the no.9 role has failed to smack that barn door.
That's pretty damning. In Unai Emery's only full season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette managed 22 and 13 goals combined, often in a front two, in the Premier League as Arsenal climbed to fifth, up one from the previous term. This season, both have managed four, with Auba last playing in red and white as long ago as December. Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka top-score with nine each.
Gabriel Martinelli has just one in his last 15 games from left-wing, too, as Arteta has utilised the young Brazilian more as a touchline winger in his evolving set-up. Martin Odegaard has six strikes from midfield.
Perhaps it's an inditement of just how poor Lacazette has been in the frontman role this season and how the young stars around him have taken the glory – but it's also surprising that the side has managed to compete for top-four football with so few goals. In comparison, Roberto Firmino – the archetypal false nine in football right now – has five league goals in just nine starts all term.
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Arsenal continue to be linked to new forwards, with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah both out of contract at the end of this season. Paulo Dybala is one player who has reportedly caught the eye, while Cody Gakpo has been linked with a move this summer, too.
Florian Grillitsch has been talked about in relation to a move, a Premier League right-back has been linked, while the likes of Lucas Paqueta and Ruben have both been touted for Emirates transfers. In terms of outgoings, there are reports linking key defender Gabriel with a departure to Barcelona this summer.
Nacho Monreal, meanwhile, recently discussed Mesut Ozil's exit from the club with FFT.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT.
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