Arsenal suffered defeat in their last away game in the Premier League, and are still without a win on the road this season. So what’s going wrong for the Gunners on their travels?
Arsenal’s poor away form hasn’t extended to the Europa League, with the Gunners winning away to BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade, while winning against Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley.
So why is it that Arsenal have struggled so much in the league, as soon as they leave the Emirates?
For one thing, the fixture list hasn’t been very kind to the Gunners. The first away game was against Stoke City, at one of Arsenal’s bogey grounds. That was followed by Anfield, then Stamford Bridge. And then although Vicarage Road has generally been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal, Watford have had a very good start to the season.
Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that Arsenal should have done better. Those aren’t the easiest of away fixtures, but to get one point is pathetic, especially considering their point came in arguably the hardest of the four matches – Chelsea.
Any team aiming for the Premier League title, or a top-four finish, would expect to take at least a point from matches away to Stoke and Watford.
Another factor is the fact that Alexandre Lacazette is yet to open his account on the road. The French international has been unlucky, with a controversial offside at Stoke, being dropped to the bench for Liverpool and having an unfortunate rebound against Chelsea. But against Watford, Lacazette drew another blank, and it could affect his confidence.
It’s not a matter of him putting in poor performances, as home or away his general play has been very good, in my opinion. Strikers need goals to build confidence and teams need goals to win matches. That’s just how it is.
Arsenal have also never had their strongest attacking line-up available in an away match so far. Özil started against Stoke and Liverpool, but not Chelsea or Watford. Alexis started against Liverpool, but that’s it. Meanwhile, Lacazette started all the matches except against Liverpool.
So Alexis and Lacazette have never started together, and Özil and Lacazette have only managed one game as a pair. At home, both pairs have started together twice, and all four matches were wins. Although we still haven’t seen the trio start all at once, anywhere.
I’d wager that the problem is in the minds of the players and the fans. They know they’re supposed to get results away from home, and rather than that fact driving them on, it seems to make them crumble – bar that committed performance against Chelsea. Hopefully that will change against Everton.