Despite their bright start to the season, playing at the Emirates for Arsenal this term seems something of an abstruse task. Though, of the three loses at home in the new season, Wenger’s men have mostly dominated both halves; created chances, ooze confidence, but have constantly shot themselves on the foot through silly defensive errors.
The game against Aston Villa in the opening day fixture of the Barclays Premier League saw the gunners control possession and dictate play, score first, then suddenly concede 3 goals courtesy of Benteke and family.
The North London derby clash at home was different. Arsenal held on tight to secure that all important lone-goal victory (before the international break fixtures) despite Spurs new recruits threatening and showing their worth.
Mark Hughes’ Stoke coming to the emirates and dominating possession after Arsenal scored first was quite frightening; especially for a team who are noted to play long balls, albeit, the managerial changes might have led to this- after Ramsey fired the gunners to an early triumph, Cameron brought Stoke level.
But had it not been the brilliance of Mesut Ozil who was involved in all goals, it would have been a different story. The game 3-1 in favor of the home team, but they had to work extra hard at home, as the visitors also had their moments, but failed to utilize them.
Arsenal produced a stellar performance against Napoli in the Champions League. Again much of this was down to the intelligence of new signing Mesut Ozil; who scored and assisted. In this game, after Arsenal took the lead in the first half, they churned out a much better display at the Emirates; controlled proceedings from start to finish.
Norwich’s visit to Northlondon in the premier league was similar to Stoke- Arsenal had a comfortable lead, but allowed the canaries to come back to the game and eventually score, however, a moment of brilliance from key players once again rescued the gunners.
Then it was Dortmund in the Champions League. Both sides rarely created clear-cut chances, and just like the Napoli game, the gunners forced the visitors to shoot from long ranges. Shockingly though, even the over relied key players could only stare and watch as individual errors and lack of concentration saw the German side steal an undeserved victory at the emirates, identical to the recent loss at home against Chelsea in the capital cup.
The Blues struggled to create goal-scoring chances, and were outclassed by a mouth-watering performance by Arsenal trios- Wilshere, Ramsey and diminutive Santi Cazorla. Despite their lack of opportunities to score, they were gifted a goal by a horrendous display by Carl Jenkinson. Poor concentration also left its trademark in the game, though; Mata’s sumptuous finish annihilated such assertion.
Arsenal currently sit top in the Barclays Premier league and to be honest, their recurring losses at home is ostensibly nothing of a downward spiral, unless they want it to be. A victory on Saturday uproots many things.
Most notably, it would put them back in the title race, lift the spirit of the players, and send a clear message to other rivals. Oh and then it could make Alan Hansen very sad.
Written by Femi Hilekaan
Follow Femi on Twitter @femi4arsenal
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