After eight games played in the Premier League, Arsenal have racked up a total of four wins, three draws and a solitary loss. It leaves them square in third place, a spot Unai Emery would snatch your hand off for come the end of the season.
The current odds for Arsenal finishing in the Champions League spots has shortened to around 8/11 since the start of the season. Make sure to compare the best betting sites before the odds fall further if you fancy backing the Gunners for a top-four finish.
The fact that the bookies are dropping Arsenal’s odds must be reflective of a successful season so far and expectations rising.
Too much negativity
Yet there isn’t unanimous confidence shared by the Arsenal faithful. Criticisms are still flying Emery’s way, the chief of which is that his tactical outlook is too negative, despite only losing one match in the league, away to European Champions Liverpool.
Following a lacklustre draw away to a limping Manchester United, many Arsenal fans were complaining of a negative outlook to Emery’s setup. That Arsenal didn’t go for the kill. That United were there to be had. In that one instance, it is perhaps a fair criticism given it is perhaps the worst United side in the Premier League era.
In general, though there hasn’t been a game in the Premier League this season where Arsenal have failed to score.
Emphasise your best assets
Cast your memory back to this summer. The talk of the town was the need for serious defensive reinforcements that have long gone underappreciated. The departure of centre back Laurent Koscielny after a nine-year stint further exacerbated the problem.
Signings were made but Kieran Tierney and David Luiz were deemed insufficient. The arrival of mercurial talent Nicolas Pépé for a club-record £72million stole the headlines but had much of the fanbase questioning where priorities should actually be placed.
The truth is that Arsenal still have serious problems in defence, only having claimed two clean sheets so far against Newcastle, and most recently against Bournemouth.
But where the team has truly excelled has been in attack. There is a wealth of attacking talent that Emery can unleash on unsupposing teams in the Premier League this season, and that’s exactly what he should be doing.
Arsenal’s only real choice, at least up until the January transfer window, is to do their best to outscore whatever opposition comes their way.
Spoilt for choice
It’s hard to deny that there is a real discrepancy between the quality of defensive and attacking players in the Arsenal squad at present. It is overwhelmingly top-heavy in favour of the latter.
Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pépé, Ceballos, Özil, Saka and even the likes of Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson among others, have strong attacking instincts.
Before Lacazette’s ankle injury, Emery preferred a top three of Aubameyang and Pépé on the flanks and Lacazette in the middle with Ceballos sitting in the central pocket behind. The latter is also a job perfectly tailored for Özil although he has seemingly been sent out into the cold.
Still, the fact the Emery can choose to ignore his top earner and still keep his team scoring, despite having an injured Lacazette, in itself demonstrates where Arsenal need to focus their energies. The question is whether Emery has the gall to set out his attacking assets with complete abandon.