Slipping out of the title race and into the fight for Champions League places, questions are going to be asked of Arsenal’s home form this season.
If you’re looking for a reason we are in fourth, look no further than the poor 31 points we’ve managed to pick up in our 16 home games so far – fewer than Manchester United, Leicester City, Tottenham and Manchester City.
In those 16 games we’ve only scored 24 goals (just the 10th most home goals in the Premier League) and it’s not good enough.
“We did not score enough goals at home, especially against Crystal Palace with the amount of possession we had,” Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger has admitted as he looks ahead to another home game, this time against West Bromwich Albion.
“We always look dangerous, dominating, but we are not efficient enough. Overall, we also gave a few leads away. That is quite disappointing.”
The Gunners have always been known for their attacking prowess under Wenger and, over the last decade, the ability to break sides down. Especially at home.
Unfortunately, it’s something this current crop of players just isn’t capable of. Reluctant to blame his personnel, the manager thinks it has something to do with the strength of the opposition.
“Some teams come now to the Emirates and play very, very deep and are quick on the break as well. Bolasie, Zaha [for Crystal Palace] can take the ball in their final third and go to your box. The physical power and potential of the teams has improved in the Premier League and it makes it more difficult.
“It’s linked a bit with the way our opponents play. They wait for you in the final third with 10 men.
“The teams last longer now. They do not die in the final 20 anymore. It’s the fitness and individual physical potential of the players.”
Teams did used to falter at the end of games against Arsenal but, if anything, it felt like that’s because they were under intense pressure to defend for their lives for the opening 75 minutes.
The current side struggles to progress the ball up the pitch quickly and doesn’t stretch the opposition as far as possible with good width and quick ball circulation. It’s become a big issue and our home form is no coincidence.
Hopefully things change in the near future but, right now, it feels a lot like Arsenal just don’t know how to break down a deep-sitting opponent. Are other teams really that much better or are Wenger’s side worse at attacking?