Solution to Arsenal’s problems is obvious but it’s out of Mikel Arteta’s control

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will ‘talk loudly’ about VAR until situation improves

Arsenal’s return to their consistent best will coincide with the reprisal of form for key stars. Mikel Arteta will naturally attempt to paper over the cracks with an alternative solution, but the Gunners’ return to the level of performance last season relies unwaveringly on cutting down the club’s injury list.

The Gunners have lost many of last season’s star players to injury at different points of the campaign. Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka, in addition to Thomas Partey, have all missed parts of the season, with Arteta struggling to frequently select his first-choice team.

That quartet started together on 11 occasions during Arsenal’s first 17 matches last term, with the Europa League the only occasions when they did not feature in rotated teams. But Arteta has not been able to get them on the pitch together as frequently this season.

Of Arsenal’s 17 games in 2023-24, Arteta has been able to pick those four players in a measly two games. Their injuries have played a role in Arsenal’s lack of fluidity this year.

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The north Londoners are yet to display the kind of full-throttle football that helped them challenge Manchester City for most of last season. Jesus, Martinelli, Odegaard and Saka were all key to Arteta’s style, but have struggled for fitness and form since August.

Striker Jesus currently has a hamstring injury with Arteta not wanting to put a date on his return. Club captain Odegaard has been struggling with a hip problem that has kept him out of Arsenal’s last two games.

Martinelli and Saka – who were crucial to Arsenal’s title challenge on either flank last season – have also missed portions of the campaign. Arteta has subsequently not been able to inject the same fluidity into his team as he did last term.

That has caused a couple of disjointed performances. For all the fury over Newcastle’s goal in their 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park last weekend, Arsenal lacked creativity and were too predictable when they went forward.

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Rekindling a midfield of Declan Rice, Thomas Partey and Odegaard will be a boost to Arteta when the latter returns from injury. That trio will hand Arsenal more balance in midfield and bring the best out of their forward stars.

Arteta is unable to control the fitness of Arsenal’s players. The Spaniard will seek an alternative solution to ensure his side improve their form after their first Premier League defeat of the season.

However, there can be no better remedy for the Gunners’ inconsistency than finally having Jesus, Martinelli, Odegaard and Saka in the same team.

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