With the season just five games old, Arsenal are already five points behind Manchester City.
Here are five things they need to do if the are to have any hope of catching Pep Guardiola’s men.
Starting off with arguably the most important of the five, consistency is key for Arsenal if they’re to catch Manchester City and win their first Premier League title in a decade.
The perfect example here is the Citizens themselves, as they’ve picked up maximum points from all five games and emerged as early pace-setters in a nine-month long season where consistency is always hard to achieve.
That’s not to say it’s impossible though, and Arsenal’s squad depth is as good as it has been for a number of years – so that’ll definitely be in our favour.
Be reliable in defence
We’ve been criticised regularly for having an unstable backline in recent seasons and given our summer transfer business, this could be a large step towards resolving problems that have constantly popped up at crucial stages of a league season.
Hector Bellerín continues to get better week-by-week, whilst Nacho Monreal’s experienced presence is an important asset at left-back. Laurent Koscielny has established himself as our best centre-back with consistent performances at a high level, whilst both of our defensive acquisitions, in Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi, have shown their quality during high-pressure situations.
Provided they can continue in this manner for the remainder of the season, there’s no reason why we cannot sustain defensive stability throughout.
Despite all of the chances we manage to create, only one or two are converted per game on average. That’s not to say we should score 4 or 5 a game, but our forwards need to improve their clinical edge in front of goal – especially in big games, where you might only get one clear opportunity to score. Miss, and it could be the fine margin between a crucial victory and two or three dropped points.
Manchester City have a number of goalscoring midfielders, including Kevin de Bruyne, and can rely on the likes of both Aguero and Iheanacho to chip in with goals regularly – regardless of match importance.
If we’re to keep pace and eventually leapfrog Guardiola’s side, we have to be more ruthless in the goals department.
Be flexible tactically
It’s something that I’ve touched upon before, and again tactical flexibility is important in avoiding predictability against opponents that will study the way we play and look to counteract it accordingly in a match situation.
The 4231 formation is effective in its own right, but has been heavily overused in many ways over the past 18 months by Arsène Wenger. We’ve already seen, first-hand, how a few personnel changes to a starting eleven can positively influence the team, so why not change formation at times to suit our opposition?
Believe in themselves
Most of our failures over the past few seasons have more to do with psychological effects, so how do we improve accordingly?
Well, the staff and players themselves have to instil belief within the core of the team – otherwise we could be tentative in big games and regret missed chances to win against beatable opposition that have proven tough, such as Chelsea in previous years.