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Mikel Arteta has failed to address biggest Arsenal issue and it could be about to get even worse

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Arsenal’s struggles in recent years, both domestically and in Europe, have been attributed to a number of different reasons.

Mikel on Leno Injury

Arsene Wenger had perhaps outstayed his welcome as manager and allowed things to turn sour with some fans. Unai Emery’s reign tailed off before it even got going, and two defeats in the first two games since the restart leaves Mikel Arteta with a big challenge ahead of him.

Five goals conceded in games against Manchester City and Brighton may be slightly inflated given the former are the Premier League’s most potent attacking force.

Nevertheless, Arsenal’s defensive fragilities have been as much of a constant this season as they have been in previous failed campaigns under different managers.

With 41 goals conceded in 30 league matches this season, Arteta’s side have little hope of qualifying for the Champions League.

The performance of David Luiz against Manchester City last Wednesday has been well documented, but Arsenal’s defensive woes go far beyond the Brazilian’s failing to something much more concerning.

defensive convex hull

As a team, Arsenal rank 18th in the league for defensive actions attempted per match with 135.77. However, they drop to 19th for successful defensive actions per match with 91.23.

In the graphic below, we can see the small volume of defensive actions by Arsenal’s backline and, therefore, the minimal effort exerted to prevent the opposition from attacking.

With the white points representing defensive actions, the above shows how Arsenal’s defenders tend to engage with dangerous situations closer to their goal than other teams.

That type of risk-taking highlights why the Gunners are perceived as unstable in defence this season and explains why they have conceded so many goals.

The consequence of having a defence that tends to engage less with the opposition before they advance into danger areas is clear. When you continually allow the opposition to get close to your goal, they are more likely to have a good opportunity in front of goal.

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PICTURES: Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell join Chelsea training

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Chelsea returned to training today (Wednesday) at Cobham, and there were two new faces joining the rest of the squad, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell. The two summer arrivals had yet to train with the squad since signing, dealing with quarantine (presumably) and heel injury issues, respectively.

It’s unclear if either will be fit and ready for this weekend’s match against Liverpool, but it’s still nice to see them in training with the rest of the group! (Those who played on Monday apparently had a lighter session, but were all out there nonetheless.)

There’s no word on how close Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic may be. Ziyech is probably still a couple weeks out with his knee problem, at least, but Pulisic was supposed to be close before suffering a potential setback with his hamstring late last week. Neither were pictured in training, and one would assume their presence would get emphasized had they been there.

Pointing the way Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Pointing the way Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

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