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15 things that show how Arsenal, 15th in the Premier League, are a mess right now

Arsenal are a club in turmoil at the moment with a miserable 1-0 home defeat against Burnley on Sunday merely serving to further exacerbate their Premier League woes.

The Clarets came into the game mired in the relegation zone with just six points to their name after a fairly poor start to the season, only to leap out of the bottom three as the final whistle sounded at the Emirates.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is enduring the toughest time of his 12 months in charge of the Gunners, who are now arguably at their lowest ebb since Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018.

As Arsenal sit 15th in the Premier League table, here are 15 things that illustrate their malaise, one for every rung down the top-flight ladder they’ve slipped this season since beginning it in the top spot (if only alphabetically).

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1. Discipline

Or, rather, a distinct lack thereof. Granit Xhaka was sent off against Burnley after the VAR caught him grabbing an opponent by the throat. Arsenal have now received twice as many red cards (six) as any other club in the Premier League since Mikel Arteta took charge in December of 2019.

2. Thierry Ennui

Xhaka has a knack of draining supporters of their patience and enthusiasm, with club legend Thierry Henry being no exception. As Patrice Evra revealed on Sky Sports during the Burnley game, the Arsenal great cannot bear to which the midfielder wearing the captain’s armband.

3. Home discomforts

The Gunners are in wretched form at the moment, with the defeat against Burnley meaning they have now lost four consecutive home league games for the first time since December 1959.

4. Aubameyang’s scoring again — at the wrong end

However, Arteta’s struggling side finally scored from a cross on Sunday. The bad news is that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang managed to nod a header past his own goalkeeper — the first time he’s netted at the Emirates since July and the first own goal of his senior professional career. Indeed, Aubameyang has now scored more goals for opposition teams (1) than he has for his own at home this season.

5. Playing the percentages

Burnley commanded just 35% of the possession against Arsenal and saw their only shot on target saved, yet still won the match. Bewildering stuff.

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6. Crowd couldn’t lift them

Supporters were allowed to take up their seats for a Premier League game at the Emirates for the first time in 10 long months and yet still ended the evening booing their team off.

7. Sending fans to sleep

Indeed, the rush of being back on the terraces soon gave way to tedium, with one fan in particular taking evasive measures with his face mask to ensure he didn’t have to bear witness to any of it.

8. Sending fans over the edge

The loss to Burnley also upset those watching on at home, including this young man who was (performatively) raging by the end of the match.

9. Wrighty Smash!

It’s fair to say club legend Ian Wright, usually an effusive cheerleader of all things Arsenal, didn’t enjoy what he was seeing during the Burnley game either.

10. Frimpong wants club dissolved

It comes to something when Emmanuel Frimpong, one the most frustrating players in Arsenal’s recent history, has weighed up the situation and offered to return to shore up the midfield, despite retiring 18 months ago, and even suggested the club just call it a day right now.

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11. Crashed Partey

Arsenal are facing another seven matches in the next 25 days and it looks like Arteta will be forced to muddle through without the services of his £45 million summer signing, Thomas Partey. The Ghana international suffered a recurrence of a thigh injury during the recent 2-0 derby defeat against Tottenham Hotspur. This is after his manager was seen attempting to physically shove Partey back out on to the pitch as he limped off shortly before half-time as Spurs streamed forward to score their second goal, only for the midfielder to pull up again after just a few steps. Arteta said after the match:

“I was trying to push him but I don’t think he realised the gravity of the situation when he left his position but that was probably because he was in a lot of pain. Suddenly they are coming to attack us and Thomas is walking to me and I was trying to push him. I haven’t spoken to him so I don’t know exactly how it happened or if he felt something really serious.”

Maybe it is time to give Frimpong a call, after all?

12. Downward trajectory

It’s an inescapable fact that the Gunners are lower in the table than they were when Arteta was appointed almost exactly one year ago. Arsenal were 10th in the Premier League with 22 points from 18 games, and seven points adrift of the top four when the Gunners appointed their former club captain as Unai Emery’s permanent successor on Dec. 21, 2019. They went on to finish eighth, and win the FA Cup. With 12 games played of the 2020-21 campaign, Arteta’s side are currently 15th and hovering just five points above the relegation zone.

13. Terrible tallies

Having garnered just 13 points from 12 outings so far this season, Arsenal have their lowest points haul at this stage in a league season since 1979-80. Their total of 10 goals scored in 12 games is also the fewest mustered since 1981-82. The only teams in the Premier League with fewer goals than Arsenal (10) are West Bromwich Albion (9), Burnley (6), and Sheffield United (5) — and those teams are 19th, 17th, and 20th in the table respectively.

14. Shot shy

Arsenal have now been held scoreless in back-to-back Premier League matches, as well as in six of their last eight league games. Meaningful chances are scarce, with Alexandre Lacazette — the team’s central striker — having gone without scoring a single league goal since September.

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15. Assist-ance is within reach.

It’s a contentious issue, but the fact that Arsenal have ostracised their most creative player and left him tweeting messages of encouragement to the team from home surely isn’t helping when it comes to forging goal-scoring opportunities. Arteta has hinted that the door is slightly ajar and Mesut Ozil’s situation may be reviewed in January, saying in the build-up to the Burnley loss: “He’s not in the squad right now. I’m focusing just on the players we have here. But, whatever happens in January, we have some time to decide.” But, for the time being, the German playmaker is functioning merely as a very expensive cheerleader.

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