IF Arsenal want to return to the top-four and even one day push for a Premier League title, they have to sort out their defence.
But the statistics of the season so far suggest the Gunners’ backline is getting WORSE.
Last season Unai Emery’s team allowed just over 13 shots per game, a number that has risen to a club record 17 shots per game for 2019/20.
That’s a whopping 136 over eight games, a tally only topped by Norwich and Aston Villa.
Perhaps most worrying for Arsenal fans is the sense that they haven’t actually had an overly difficult start to the campaign.
Three of last season’s top six have been faced but Tottenham and Manchester United are on serious downturns.
Furthermore, struggling Newcastle and Watford have also been faced and the bottom club were allowed to fire a huge 31 shots at Bernd Leno’s goal during their 2-2 draw.
The sort of home games that the Gunners usually put away with ease, against Villa, Bournemouth and Burnley, have also been drawn-out, difficult affairs that they nonetheless won.
Attempting to simply outscore opponents is evidently a risky strategy though, Arsenal only notching 13 times with over half of those coming via the heavily relied upon Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
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Given the Gabonese striker’s prowess and the team’s dogged ability to scrape together points, to put them third at this stage, many won’t be too upset by this defensive drama.
Indeed, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney are yet to feature in the league because of injury.
But there is a big gap between Arsenal and the quietest defences in the league, Manchester City allowing just 55 shots in eight games with Chelsea (72) and Liverpool (77) not far behind.
This post written by Marc Mayo originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.