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The challenges facing Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta when football resumes

The challenges facing Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta when football resumes

With the football season currently suspended as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it's a chance for fans to take stock of where there team is in a general sense. For some, the Premier League table makes for enjoyable reading, namely supporters of Liverpool and Leicester City, but for others, the table is frozen with their team struggling in no-man's land.

That is certainly the case for Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta's men mired in the middle reaches of the Premier League table, after 28 games in which the team has only recorded nine victories. But this period of time when no football is being played is a chance for coaches like Arteta to reflect on what has happened so far this season, and put a plan of action in place for when football and football betting returns. We've identified a few areas where Arsenal can make improvements.

Defensive shortcomings

One of the issues that has plagued Arsenal this season, and indeed in prior campaigns, is the defensive frailty that has defined the team at the back. So far this season, they have conceded a total of 36 goals – not the level Arteta would like to see his team performing at.

Last summer under Unai Emery, Arsenal failed to address their lack of defensive solidity in the transfer market. The arrival of David Luiz – a player who has a tendency to be erratic in his performances – did little to quell the fears of supporters who had already been forced to witness the anarchic performances of Shkodran Mustafi in prior seasons.

Arteta's job now must be to shore up Arsenal's rear-guard. With the attacking talents at the Spaniard's disposal, a stronger defensive unit could be the key to Arsenal becoming a more dominant force in the Premier League.

The Ozil debate

Question marks over Mesut Ozil's role in the side has been the hottest topic among many Arsenal fans for a while now. He is a divisive figure among fans, and although his creative talents are undoubted as a footballer, his attitude and perceived lack of effort have rubbed certain sections of supporters the wrong way.

Arteta has already reintroduced the German international as a regular starter, but we are still yet to see Ozil at his brilliant best. Perhaps once Arteta has had more time to build relationships with his players, we will see more fruit in terms of squad harmony, and the best possible outcome of that would be a return to form for Ozil.

Building leaders

You only needed to look at the scenes in Arsenal's home match against Crystal Palace in November to see that the team had a problem in terms of leadership. Granit Xhaka, who was captain at the time, made headlines for all the wrong reasons as he swore at supporters while he was being substituted.

Xhaka has since been stripped of the captaincy, but there is still a notable lack of genuine leaders in Arsenal's first team. When you think of Arsenal's past Premier League triumphs, figures such as Patrick Vieira, Martin Keown and Tony Adams spring to mind, players who were always on hand to give football advice to their teammates – but the current crop of Arsenal players does not boast such inspirational leaders. One of Arteta's main goals will be to develop a better sense of trust and belief among his players, so that they might spur each other on towards brighter times.

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