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Premier League, Wolves vs Arsenal: What went wrong for the Gunners?

Harsh Pillai
ANALYST
Feature
411   //    25 Apr 2019, 15:46 IST

Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil look dejected after Arsenal's loss to Wolves
Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil look dejected after Arsenal's loss to Wolves

It was Arsenal's seventh defeat on the road across all competitions - thanks to the players. The top four race should have been far from over but it's still open for three teams in the top six.

Arsenal, fifth on the table now, have bagged zero points in their last two Premier League games, succumbing to a 3-1 defeat against Wolves. Another club in contention for a top-four spot, Chelsea, took just one point from Burnley. Sixth-placed Man United, on the other hand, also lost both their games to Everton and Manchester City.

It appears that the teams are fighting for a Europa League spot, and none of them look determined to get into the top four. Three points separate these teams with Chelsea on 67, Arsenal 66 and United lagging behind at 64.

A good first 10 minutes for Unai Emery's men turned into a 3-0 deficit by halftime. A brilliant Reuben Neves free-kick opened the scoring for the home side, Doherty added to it with a composed header and Diego Jota's amazing solo run across the face of the goal ended Arsenal's hopes to win the game.

And after conceding the first goal, Arsenal never looked like they were in the game. To add to that, Alexandre Lacazette's two terrible misses and the inconsistency displayed by Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan cost Arsenal three very valuable points.

Arsenal coach Unai Emery has relied on his 3-4-1-2 formation for most part of the season despite his favourite formation being the holding 4-2-3-1. The fact that a three-man defence has helped Arsenal concede less and score more is not a secret, and why Unai Emery decided to alter the formation to a back four against such a brilliant counter-attacking side is still not clear.

Emery wanted to go all guns blazing but sometimes, you need to respect the opposition, and you have to play to their weaknesses.

Arsenal would have done better with a back-three, sitting back to defend and then attack efficiently on the counters, just what Wolves prefer doing.

Nuno Espírito Santo's men do not like to keep possession of the ball and always look to break on the counter. Arsenal, consequently, should have played to their weakness, forcing them to play with the ball and not without it. That way, Arsenal would have been at least able to salvage a point, if not more.

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Leicester have won 3 of their last 5 games, whereas Arsenal have lost 3 of their last 5 games
Leicester have won 3 of their last 5 games, whereas Arsenal have lost 3 of their last 5 games

The main reason for Arsenal two back-to-back defeats has been shambolic defending. And fun fact, Shkodran Mustafi was not part of the Starting XI, and yet Arsenal conceded three goals. It's easy to choose a scapegoat but the truth is that Arsenal have been abysmal as a team in recent times.

Arsenal are up against Leicester next on Sunday and luckily, Brendon Rogers is a coach who likes to dominate possession. Arsenal have a better chance of winning now at least.

The Gunners are likely to press high, force Leicester into making mistakes, and look to steal the three points at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

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