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Uninspiring Arsenal are now playing as if nothing is at stake this season

Arsenal were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City.
Arsenal were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City.
ANALYST
Modified 24 Dec 2020, 20:01 IST
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Arsenal’s miserable form continued on Tuesday following a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. While Pep Guardiola’s side came into the game in ruthless form, Mikel Arteta’s charges were simply toothless against their opponents.

There’s a limit to what a manager can do, and at the moment, it looks like the Arsenal players have completely downed tools. Arteta has constantly said that the team needs to turn things around sooner rather than later.

However, the way things are going, it is difficult to see how that can be achieved, let alone within a short span of time. The Gunners are simply not good enough and are far behind their rivals in terms of quality and squad depth.

On Tuesday, Arteta decided to rotate his squad due to fatigue and injuries to some of his key players. Of the players who were handed starts, only Gabriel Martinelli, who has just returned from injury, looked hungry.

Arsenal lacked fight and desire against Manchester City

The rest of the squad showed very little desire and made it easy for Manchester City to pick them apart. Seeing Runar Alex Runarsson in post for the Gunners typified just how mediocre the Arsenal squad are at the moment.

The Icelandic goalkeeper was nervous throughout the 90 minutes and rarely made any saves without panicking. His inability to deal with a straight shot from Riyad Mahrez caused Arsenal to go 2-1 down and Arteta’s side never recovered.

Arteta acknowledged his side have to turn things around this season in the post-match interview.

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"We have to turn it around, there is no question," the Arsenal boss told Sky Sports after the game. "If we don't, we are in big trouble, so this is the moment that is going to decide our season."
"We do [have the tools to turn things around] because I see how much the players try and what they are trying to do. But, at the moment, a lot of strange things are happening in every game and that makes things really difficult," said Arteta.

Arteta may be trying to publicly defend his players but the performance against Manchester City did not depict players who were 'trying'. Most of them looked disinterested in the game and lacked desire.

Arteta powerless to stop Arsenal slump

The Gunners have now lost five of their last eight games in all competitions and are just two points above the Premier League’s relegation places. West Brom manager Sam Allardyce even suggested earlier this week that Arsenal were relegation rivals to his Baggies side.

Everyone knew Arteta was walking into a very tough job but not even the Spaniard would have thought the task would be this challenging. Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and summer signing Thomas Partey remain injured and the team just cannot win games at the moment.

Published 24 Dec 2020, 20:01 IST
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