Going into an international break is always a good time for reflection on how the past few weeks have gone. It’s not always a good thing though if results haven’t gone the way of your Premier League team and instead there is a two week wait to put things right.
That is the fate bestowed upon Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta following a slightly unexpected 3-0 home loss to Aston Villa as England’s top-flight shuts down for a few days.
Whilst Villa played extremely well and deserved the win which keeps them in touch with the teams in and around the top four positions Arteta must be concerned with the way they were taken apart and conceded so cheaply.
Three defeats in the last five games leave the North London club mid-table and with plenty of food for thought for the Spaniard before the players return. They can take some comfort in the fact they have already visited the grounds of their biggest rivals for Champions League football before ten games are on the board and although all results from those games were not all favourable it does mean those trips are now confined to the history books.
While defensively, Villa apart, they have been fairly sound, the problem is now coming at the other end of the pitch with both Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggling in front of goal and with help hitting the target not forthcoming across the team it is a major factor in a six point gap between themselves and Leicester City so early in the season.
There aren’t a lot of proven striking options open to Arteta either and there is unlikely to be funds available in January to make a difference and with most clubs reluctant to sell at that time of the year the Spaniard is likely to have to get more out of what he already has at the club.
Creativity is severely lacking too, crying out for the likes of an in-form and ability wise Mesut Ozil to be there pulling the strings, the German however is as likely to appear in the red shirt no more so than Arteta himself such is the unpopularity these days for the midfielder.
Arteta was fairly scathing in his after match press conference, labelling his players as ‘less than a team’ a week after playing so well at Old Trafford and nullifying Manchester United. It can be said as it has been since the season began and will continue to be so results are not as you would expect with no atmosphere inside these stadiums to lift players and spur them on if games aren’t going the right way.
Even with four defeats from their eight games so far it doesn’t rule them out of anything, it’s far too early in the season for that.
A trip to Leeds and a home game with Wolves round off the month, an expectation of four points minimum from those two games would keep the Gunners in touch with the teams above them ready for the North London derby at the beginning of December.
No title is won nor any team relegated in early November, there is still so much football to be played by everyone and with this unpredictability of results likely to continue for the foreseeable future, more twists and turns are inevitable.
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37