Goings on at Arsenal over recent weeks will have “disturbed” Mikel Arteta, says Alan Smith, with the Gunners told they have been shooting themselves in the foot.
Arteta was putting his own stamp on things, with consistency and stability seemingly ready to be embraced by those at Emirates Stadium.
All-too-familiar struggles have, however, resurfaced, with many of Arsenal’s problems of their own making.
Smith admits as much –following a run of disappointing defeats, reckless red cards and training ground bust-ups – with Arteta in danger of seeing his best work go to waste.
“It hasn’t, in truth, been a great few weeks for Arsenal,” former Gunners frontman Smith told the Evening Standard.
“Firstly, they get well beaten by Aston Villa, then Willian shoots off to Dubai without permission. David Luiz and Dani Ceballos swap punches in an unusually fierce training ground scrap and Nicolas Pepe gets stupidly sent off in the goalless draw at Leeds.
“For a manager who insists on togetherness and discipline, this period will have disturbedMikel Arteta. The Spaniard has enough on his plate without getting waylaid by avoidable distractions.
“His main challenge, after all, is finding a way to sharpen an attack that has not scored a goal from open play in five League games.
“Searching for an answer, Arteta switched to four at the back against Molde, a move that resulted in three successful strikes. Pepe got some of Leeds out of his system with a fine goal, before Reiss Nelson and Folarin Balogun spoke up for the kids.
“It will be interesting, then, to see if Arteta sticks with that shape against Wolves, a side usually very mean when it comes to defending.
“The Gunners, for sure, need much more in attack, or else the vast improvement elsewhere will get sadly lost amid the disappointment.”
Source : goal.com