Arsenal are experiencing their worst-ever campaign in the Premier League era at the present point of time but they still have a realistic chance of making the top four before the season concludes.
The results have definitely improved under the guidance of manager Mikel Arteta but the Gunners have not necessarily capitalised on the shortcomings of their league rivals due to their tendency to play stalemates.
As a result, the club are 10 points adrift of the fourth position, which assures a place in next season’s Champions League group stage, and they need to go on a winning run to take advantage of any slip-ups.
The Gunners can, of course, cement their Champions League berth by winning the Europa League title but that remains a distant path for the moment as they have yet to progress beyond the round of 32 stage.
Three things Arsenal should consider after the winter break:
Stick with a steady defensive combination: Under Arteta, there has been a constant chopping and changing of players in the backline. This has largely resulted from suspensions and injuries and the club’s faithful will be hoping for a turn in fortunes following the winter break. Apart from Calum Chambers (out for the season) and Kieran Tierney (light training), the rest of the squad is available to the manager’s disposal and the Spaniard needs to settle on his best defensive combination for the key games ahead in the Premier League and Europa League, in particular.
Stick or Twist with Alexandre Lacazette: The Frenchman has impressed with his workrate and high pressing under Arteta but he has failed to achieve his main objective of scoring goals. Lacazette has failed to find the net for the Gunners for nearly two months and during this period, he has been presented with a number of clear-cut chances which have gone astray. However, the more worrying statistic remains the fact that he has not scored a Premier League goal away from home for an entire year. If his form fails to improve, Arteta should consider dropping him and play Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the central striker.
Take advantage of forthcoming home games: Arsenal’s next three league games come at home against Newcastle United, Everton and West Ham United and in between those, they have an away game at Olympiacos in the first leg of the Europa League round of 32. The Gunners’ strong point has been the home form over the years and they have struggled this season with just four wins from 12 league matches. They have already drawn and lost more games at the Emirates than the entirety of the previous campaign but can compensate for the same with a strong finish. Arteta’s side need to pick up maximum points in their next three games to give themselves a shout in the top-four hunt.