Crystal Palace are the only team in the bottom 11 that Arsenal have beaten away from home in the Premier League this season.
Of the current bottom 11 sides, Arsenal have played eight away from home so far, and won just once.
When you look at all those matches, two problems become perfectly clear as we round up in the conclusion.
1. Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal – 19th August 2017
This is one of very few games on the list where Arsenal created enough chances to win. Alexandre Lacazette’s goal was controversially ruled out for offside, and Danny Welbeck was wasteful. Stoke had one really good chance and they took it. On another day, this one could’ve turned out differently.
2. Watford 2-1 Arsenal – 14th October 2017
Without Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez starting, Arsenal struggled to create chances in this one. Nonetheless, the side still took the lead through Per Mertesacker, heading in from a corner. Late on, Deeney scored a penalty after Richarlison’s dive, and Cleverley added the winner.
3. Southampton 1-1 Arsenal – 10th December 2017
Arsenal forgot to start playing for the first 15 minutes at St. Mary’s, and could’ve been two or three down as a result. Luckily it stayed at 1-0, because, again, the team didn’t make nearly enough chances to get back in the game. Olivier Giroud bailed the side out late on with a headed equaliser.
4. West Ham United 0-0 Arsenal – 13th December 2017
Wenger rewarded Giroud’s last-minute header with a start against West Ham the next week. Unfortunately, it was an opportunity the Frenchman wasted. He had a couple of shots, but none on target, and couldn’t get on the end of any of Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ nine crosses. Again, Arsenal just didn’t do enough to score.
5. Crystal Palace 2-3 Arsenal – 28th December 2017
Finally, Arsenal’s first (and only) away win against a bottom club. Shkodran Mustafi scored the opener in a dominant first 45 minutes. All that good work was undone when Andros Townsend equalised early in the second half, but Alexis Sanchez scored a brace that put the match beyond the hosts.
James Tomkins pulled one back in the 89th minute to make sure the win wasn’t too comfortable.
6. West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Arsenal – 31st December 2017
Arsenal really didn’t deserve to win at the Hawthorns on New Year’s Eve, but if Mike Dean had done his job properly, they would’ve done so anyway.
Once again, the team struggled to create chances without Mesut Özil starting. In fact they only had four shots on target over the full 90 minutes, only one more than the hosts. Nonetheless, Alexis Sanchez’s free kick, heading wide, deflected off James McClean and into the net for 1-0.
Arsenal only had to hold out for seven minutes, and they did so for six. Then Dean awarded a penalty for a “handball” by Calum Chambers, and Jay Rodriguez converted. Everyone, including the referee himself after the match, agreed it was the wrong decision.
7. AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Arsenal – 14th January 2018
At the Vitality Stadium, Arsenal surrendered a lead to lose in a very similar way to the match against Watford. Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ effort hit the crossbar in the first half, then Hector Bellerin gave Wenger’s side the opening goal, assisted well by Alex Iwobi.
After that, rather than securing the lead, Arsenal went into panic mode. Suddenly every Bournemouth attack looked like it could end in a goal. The visitors conceded in 70th and 74th minute, leaving the team suddenly facing a deficit, and it’s one they couldn’t overturn.
8. Swansea City 3-1 Arsenal – 30th January 2018
This was supposed to be the start of a new era for Arsenal. Alexis Sanchez had finally left for Manchester United, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined in his place. The chance to watch the Armenian linking up with Mesut Özil excited supporters.
Instead, Wenger chose to start the game with Mkhitaryan on the bench. Nonetheless, Arsenal opened the scoring when Özil expertly assisted Nacho Monreal. For the fifth time in eight matches on this list, that was followed by an equaliser for the hosts.
Sam Clucas scored his second goal of the season to equalise, which also happened to be his second goal against Arsenal of the campaign. Then in the second half, he added his third to both tallies. Jordan Ayew added one in between the two Clucas efforts, and it ended 3-1.
From the looks of things, the two main problems are failing to shut up shop when ahead, and struggling to consistently create chances.
If Arsenal won every match they took the lead in, they would’ve taken 17 points from these games instead of six. That would put them comfortably in the top four. Instead, they’ve thrown away game after game against teams in the bottom 11.
On the other side of things, scoring just eight goals in eight games against that standard of opponent is terrible. Especially if you’re also conceding 12.
Wenger was right, Arsenal aren’t strong enough at either end.
Now they need to find a way to change that, before it’s too late – if it isn’t already.