Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been told by Ian Wright that he needs to sign a creative midfielder who can make chances for the front three of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Willian. Arsenal were thrashed 3-0 by Aston Villa on Sunday as they slipped into the bottom half of the table.
Arsenal put in one of their worst performances under Mikel Arteta on Sunday.
Villa got off to a terrific start at the Emirates as John McGinn fired into the top corner after just 45 seconds – though the goal was ruled out through Ross Barkley standing in an offside position.
But just 20 minutes later, Bukayo Saka put through his own net under pressure from Trezeguet at the back post to give Villa the lead.
And in the second half, things went from bad to worse for Arteta, as Ollie Watkins scored twice to put the game to bed.
Arteta set up his side in a 5-2-3 formation, with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny playing in the middle of midfield.
The two centre-midfielders were ineffective in getting the ball forward, as they were forced to play in a more counter-attacking style.
And as a result, the front three of Aubameyang, Lacazette and Willian were starved of chances and unable to get into the game.
Partey was taken off for Dani Ceballos at half-time in what appeared to be a tactical change – though Arteta confirmed post-match that the Ghanaian had suffered a slight injury.
Ceballos was unable to make much of a difference after he came off, despite trying to move the ball forward whenever he received it.
And Wright believes Arteta needs to bring in a new creative midfielder in order to create chances.
Speaking to Premier League Productions, he explained that the Gunners were “nowhere near good enough”, and should have done more to deal with the Villa press.
Wright said: “Mikel is going to want the players he wants to come in to implement what he wants but at the same time, the effort and output, from a team that was rested, was nowhere near good enough.
“A Villa team that is coming there and you know they’re going to press you, you need to press your game upon them. Yes, there is a lacking of a central midfielder who can create and that’s what he needs.
“But at the same time, you can’t go into a game with that type of attitude and expect to win it.”
Speaking after the defeat, Arteta took the blame for the way his side played and lamented his side’s defending.
He said: “Well, first congratulations to Aston Villa for the victory and the way they played, I thought they were strong and obviously from our side I take total responsibility because it’s not acceptable the performance we put in from the beginning.
“I’ll keep what I said to my players in the dressing room private, my role is to get the team performing at the highest level every three days and today we haven’t done that and since I got appointed it’s the first time I haven’t seen that team on the pitch.
“This is football and when you are not at the races and not at your best teams destroy you in the Premier League.
“It’s a really bad combination if you don’t win the duels, you are late and they are more focused, they are more determined for every ball.
“If you don’t defend your box well enough and you have chances but you don’t put them away.
“No, we are not creating enough chances but the ones we did create were clear enough to score at least one goal but if you look at the numbers from last few games it’s not enough.”
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