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Premier League 2018-19: 3 reasons why Arsenal lost to Everton

Matteo Guendouzi had the job of filling the voids left by Xhaka and Torreira, but the 19-year old couldn't rise to the occasion.
Matteo Guendouzi had the job of filling the voids left by Xhaka and Torreira, but the 19-year old couldn't rise to the occasion.

Arsenal's terrible away form continued and this time it were Everton, who handed a major blow to the Gunners' chances of a top-four finish. Arsenal have now won just two of their last 12 away matches in all competitions, with the two victories coming against Blackpool and Huddersfield. However, Arsenal have been great in their backyard and have won their last seven outings in all competitions at home. This major mentality shift is yet to be resolved by Unai Emery as the manager still looks clueless on how to improve his team's form away from the Emirates.

Arsenal are still in pole position to finish the season in the fourth spot in the Premier League table but what makes their run-in difficult is that they have to play three more mid-table teams - Wolves, Leicester City and Watford - away from home. These three teams have decent records against the 'Big Six' at home, with Wolves the best team out of the lot.

Though the Gunners do not have to play any of their top six rivals till the end of the season, their abysmal away form means they have their work cut out if they want to finish in the top-four. Emery's team cannot afford to drop any more points and the three reasons why Arsenal lost to Everton last night are as follows.


#3 Inactivity down the wings

Ozil and Arsenal's poor away form continues
Ozil and Arsenal's poor away form continues

Everton had an upper hand against Arsenal when it came to attacking down the wings. The likes of Bernard and Richarlison ran riots through the flanks, always keeping Arsenal's wing-backs and centre backs on their back foot. This is exactly where Everton won the game.

Arsenal had to burn their midnight oil in order to cope with Everton's intensity and the home side had 23 shots attempted, compared to Arsenal's 9, which shows how terrific Everton's forwards were. The Goodison Park rose to the occasion as well, providing their players with an incredible atmosphere to play in.

Arsenal commenced the game with Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on either side of the flanks but both the players lacked the energy and strength to outrun or outperform Everton's full-backs, and as a result, Arsenal's creativity last night was close to nil.

When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi came on for Mkhitaryan and Ozil, the game seemed to be tilting towards Arsenal as Everton's full-backs had a tough time catching up with Iwobi's dancing feet and Aubameyang's pace. But unfortunately, it just was not enough.

#2 Andre Gomes and Gueye outperformed Arsenal's midfield

Andre Gomes came up with a 10/10 performance last night against Arsenal
Andre Gomes came up with a 10/10 performance last night against Arsenal

Emery's side had two of their key midfielders Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira sidelined due to a groin injury and suspension respectively. And this turned out to be hugely disadvantageous for Arsenal. Matteo Guendouzi and Mohamed Elneny had no time to react and play passes when they had the ball as Marco Silva's team did not allow the visitors to have freedom on the ball.

A calf injury to Aaron Ramsey left Emery with only two choices - Elneny and Guendouzi. The pair could barely handle Andre Gomes and Idrissa Gueye as the home side ripped apart Arsenal's midfield through counter attacks and quick transitions.

The crowd were thrilled to bits and Arsenal were handed another away defeat which could go on to cost them a top-four finish. Torreira will be back for Arsenal against Napoli but Xhaka seems a doubt for the Europa League game. Arsenal need to have their dynamic midfield duo back for the remaining games if they wish to end the season on a good note.

#1 An off day for Arsenal's wing-backs

Maitland Niles is a promising young talent, but he failed to keep Bernard silent last night, who caused immense trouble through the left flank
Maitland Niles is a promising young talent, but he failed to keep Bernard silent last night, who caused immense trouble through the left flank

Arsenal's most attack-minded player Sead Kolasinac was probably Arsenal's worst performer yesterday, only behind Ainsley Maitland Niles, who played as a right wing-back. In recent weeks, Emery has shifted to a 3-man defence in order to give his wing-backs room and freedom to attack. The wing-backs have been confidence going forward, but yesterday was not their day.

Kolasinac and Niles provided zero attacking options down the wings as Everton's wingers always kept them on the back foot. They failed to provide an impact, and as a result, Alexandre Lacazette was completely isolated up front.

Hector Bellerin and Kolasinac have provided to 10 assists in the league this season playing as wing-backs/full-backs, a stat only bettered by Liverpool's Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who have a total of 16 assists to their name. This tells us that Emery's football relies heavily on the performances of his full-backs/wing-backs. But nothing went their way last night.

Emery and his staff have a plethora of problems to solve as they have to play Watford and Wolves in their next two Premier League away games, and the results of those matches could significantly have an effect on their hopes of playing Champions League football next season.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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