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Opinion

The Gunners' Champions League pursuit has hit a stumbling block

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Roar Rookie
20th June, 2020
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Yet another loss to Brighton following a mid-week defeat to Manchester City in the English Premier League.

Arsenal came into the game seeking a good performance. They were dealt with a blow as team stopper Bernd Leno was stretched off following a knee injury just before the break. The goalie has been in fine form for the Gunners thus far this season.

Injuries to Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari in the opening fixture of the league restart made it the third for the Gunners.

The team had a good start in the game after Bukayo Saka shot from outside the box and was quite unfortunate as the ball struck the frame of the goal. The game was evenly matched as both teams in need of a victory had chances but couldn’t convert. Nicholas Pepe gave the team a huge boost in the 67th minute after a wonderfully curled shot went past Mathew Ryan, who could do nothing to stop it.

The victory that was in sight for the Gunners was taken away seven minutes later following the team’s hesitant and sceptical defending, which allowed Lewis Dunk to poke home from close range. The game got sour for the North London team after Neal Maupay was put clean through on goal from an exquisite through ball from Aaron Connolly in the closing stages.

Maupay made no mistake slotting past substitute goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

The loss has kept Arsenal languishing in ninth position with 40 points and eight games left to be played.

Arsenal are losing hold of participating in the UEFA Champions League next season. They are now eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand against Aston Villa.

With the corking performances from a team like Sheffield United, Wolves and Manchester United, the chances of this team gaining any opportunity of a top-four finish are quite inconceivable. They have lame and awful defending, a lack of intensity and no creative force in midfield, weak attacking threats and not enough spark.

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The team boss Mikel Arteta also needs a review in his tactics, playing Pierre Aubameyang far more in wider positions hasn’t been productive enough. The second top goalscorer in the league has propelled this team with his goals this season.

Playing him out of position hasn’t brought the best out of him in the last two games he featured, a more central role will bring goals which the team need to sustain their ambition.

Nevertheless, Arsenal will be seeking a miracle to break into the top four this season, and with these sorts of displays in subsequent games, a chance of playing in any European competition appears to be remote.