Infuriating Arsenal weakness will kill season under Arteta

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Arsenal, MA

Infuriating Arsenal weakness will kill the Premier League season under Mikel Arteta as the Gunners’ mental fragility is costing them crucial points. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

If the plan is to seek solace in the misery then it’s that the root of the issues at Arsenal are staring this team in the face.

Mikel Arteta noted after the full-time whistle that Arsenal threw the game away having drawn level at 2-2. Gabriel Martinelli’s wonderfully weighted cutback found Martin Odegaard, who used the speed of the pass to delicately guide the ball into the far corner.

Arsenal were in the ascendancy. Cutting through Manchester United was the easiest task of the night. Scott McTominay and Fred can get lost in the occasion and the gaps that opened up between the central box United employed required but two passes to play through. Odegaard’s inexcusable foul nipped that in the bud.

But that wasn’t where Arsenal lost this game. It was lost after 15 minutes when they were still leading 1-0. We’ve been down this road before and despite stepping into the trap door, this team keeps falling though and repeating its route.

Infuriating Arsenal weakness will kill the Premier League season under Mikel Arteta as the Gunners’ mental fragility is costing them crucial points

This has to be rectified. Solve this issue and everything that was so well prepared and resolute about that opening spell can be the lasting memory. Instead, Arsenal are left to rue their mistakes again, and again, and again.

Going in front in matches has become a poisoned chalice. Last season Manchester United earned the title of comeback kings, having won 21 points from losing positions. Ask them if they’d rather have gone in front first and, of course, they’d have accepted.

It feels as if that’s what Arsenal need. But, then again, the side have never won a match under Arteta where they’ve been trailing at half-time, so forget that.

No, what Arsenal are doing is right. They’re starting well and getting their noses in front. That’s what you want. That’s what every team wants. What they do after that is the primary source of all their failings, and it’s derailing this team.

Unsolved, it will kill the whole season.

Leading 1-0 after 12 minutes, Arsenal had prepared brilliantly for Old Trafford: shape, structure, positional play and counter-pressing were all mapped out and being executed superbly. But then the trigger happens. The subconscious mental frailty to abandon a positive game state and retreat into their shells.

Why? It’s a recurring trend in the Premier League that has endless reasonings. Yet having seen it happen with such frequency, the finger needs to start being pointed elsewhere.

Continued on next page…

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