Arsenal's major problems seem to be catching up to them.
After a 2-0 defeat at home to a West Ham side after dominating possession, shots, and xG, Mikel Arteta must look at how to solve his problems for the second half of the season.
Here are three possible solutions for the Arsenal manager.
1. Find a striker
It happened in the Villa match, it happened against West Ham and it nearly happened against Brighton. Arsenal dominated possession and xG. The Gunners were fortunate Pascal Gross didn't convert his huge chance befoe Kai Havertz sealed all three points.
Villa and West Ham converted theirs and have put Arsenal two points from the top with ten points fewer than last season at the midway point. It's not the worst place to be in retrospect, but the way Arsenal create, they should be better off.
Maybe it’s Ivan Toney or maybe Arteta should start Gabriel Martinelli at centre forward and Jesus on the wing. One thing is for certain, the Gunners have not been efficient in front of goal and the front three are struggling to combine. But it's not just the front three, opportunities are being missed everywhere and with the FA Cup, Champions League, and the second half of the Premier League season kicking off, they need goals or they will go trophyless this term.
2. Drop Oleksandr Zinchenko
Zinchenko was a massive boost to the build-up last season. While he is involved in the build-up while inverting, he hasn’t been as effective. Maybe it's because the LCM isn’t as strong in defence this season, but he hasn’t contributed as much as last term.
He is also a defensive liability. The Ukrainian, for the second season running, struggled at Anfield before he produced an uninspiring showing on Thursday night. If Jurrien Timber makes it back this season, he can provide more. But for now, Arteta should slot in Kiwior for a few matches and see what sticks until Takehiro Tomiyasu returns.
One thing is for certain, Zinchenko leaves the left side too wide open and even when dominating play, it will cost Arsenal again and again.
3. Integrate Emile Smith Rowe
Arsenal remain far too reliant on Martin Odegaard for a source of creativity, and the Norwegian maestro has shown this season his future might lie in a deeper position.
Thus, with the front three failing to fire, Arsenal could do with another source of ingenuity.
I'm not sure why Arteta is hesitant to include academy standout Emile Smith Rowe but perhaps he should give Arsenal’s number 10 a shot whether on the wing or in midfield. Right now, Martinelli is struggling and Havertz still has question marks despite his improvement. At some point, some new tactics and lineups may be in order to create and score more goals.