LONDON — Mikel Aretha is always looking for a way out of Arsenals Malaise, but 11 men on the field could be a good start.
As Gabriel gels in the twenties, Karte in the 62. When midfielder Dani Ceballos started to run in the 42nd minute, he turned to the assistant referee and shouted in anger: Every game is the same.
He’s right, of course, but it’s not the civil servants who are to blame. The Gunners had to save a point in their 1-1 tie with Southampton after Mikel Arteta was shown a seventh red card.
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The Spaniard has been at the helm for less than a year and Arsenal’s record at that time is more than double that of any other club (three). There have been three in the last five games of the Premier League, and four days before that, against Burnley, came the undiscipline of the hosts just when they came into the swing of things. Ten minutes earlier Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had cancelled Theo Walcott’s first goal in the 18th minute. Arsenal leveled in the 57th minute, giving them more confidence than at any other time in the game.
But that belief was quickly shattered when Gabriel was sent away twice in four minutes, the first time for an attack and the second for a clumsy tackle when Walcott walked over him in preparation for a counterattack from Southampton.
The 22-year-old defender has been one of Arsenal’s best players so far in an eventful season, but he seemed unsure from the outside, shaking ball possession and looking dubious throughout the season.
Arteta explained Granit Xhaka’s red card as an unreasonable desire to do good, and perhaps Gabriel can be arranged in the same way if we are generous. Less accommodating was the fact that the defender panicked throughout the half, took the ball too high on the first goal from the Saints and made the same mistake in the second half.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Gabriel is the last Arsenal player to lose his head. He joins the ranks of Arsenal players who have already seen red this season: Nicolas Pepe and Granit Shaka. Clive Rose/Getty Images
Arteta’s right to expect better. Xhaka and Nicolas Pepe, who was sent to Leeds on a whim, were fined for their indiscretion. Gabriel’s ejection was not for excessive honesty but was reckless, a mistake that could easily have condemned Arsenal to a fifth consecutive home defeat in the Premier League.
It’s very difficult to compete in this competition when you play with ten men for so long, Artema said. And when you’re fighting for results, it makes it even harder.
Fusiliers, whose average age since the 11th century was only 24 years, became men very early on. It was an impressive achievement for a team that seems stronger in possession than on the outside, but a lack of confidence after four consecutive home defeats, combined with Arteta’s very precise instructions, seems to have contributed to this inhibited performance.
But the good news is that they haven’t given up yet. After Nathan Redmond had been replaced by the saints, Arsenal almost made himself equal on the other side when Rob Holding led Bukayo Saca’s free kick over the bar.
Saki’s perseverance was a plus, his earlier attempt to help Arsenal level out before Eddie Nketia guided Aubameyang to his first goal since the first stage. November. Arteta said I’m sure I can put a lot of pressure on him when the drought is over.
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It was also the Gunners’ first goal in more than 13 hours of play. Baby steps.
After all, it would be very hard to accept if you lose the game again. The players have shown what we expect of them, sometimes with more or less good work, but at least the work is there, said the director of Arsenal. I saw all the players who didn’t participate and they were shouting in the stands and right behind the team, experiencing the game with them, which is also a very strong message.
It is not a confusion that led to the departure of Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, but it is also not a suggestion that the road to better times was clear.
Edu, technical director of Arsenal FC, confirmed his full support for Arteta this week and was impressed with the immediate impact and long-term vision. The problem remains between the two, as Edu’s capsule look in the stands shakes his head on another bad first half.
Arteta will have to draw more from these players in the coming weeks and months to earn the right to shape a team in their own image. A full 90 minute casting on a regular basis would make this much easier.