Arsenal: What's behind the Gunners' Emirates Stadium woes?
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta knows his side must improve their home form to have success in the Premier League, but what's behind their poor recent results at the Emirates?
In 2020 more than any other year, people have had to learn to appreciate being in their homes. However, as the 2020-21 season has progressed, that has become an increasingly difficult task for Arsenal.
Following a North London derby defeat to Tottenham, the Gunners sit a lowly 15th in the Premier League, eight points adrift of the top four and a return to Champions League football they so desperately crave and 11 behind their league-leading neighbours.
Their dismal start to the season is partly down to poor form at their Emirates Stadium home.
Arsenal have lost three home league games on the spin, scoring once and conceding six goals, and manager Mikel Arteta knows that has to change if they are to have any chance of climbing the table.
13 - Arsenal’s tally of 13 points is their lowest after their opening 10 matches of a league campaign since the 1981-82 season (12). Collapse. pic.twitter.com/QaZ6olTYXj— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 29, 2020
"We can do nothing right now about what happened the last few weeks," he told reporters. "We know that home form is going to be vital for our success and we have to change that immediately.
"If we want to have any hope of doing something important and relevant this season it has to be by winning the games at home."
It is clear Arteta knows things have to change, but the problem is he has issues at both ends of the pitch to solve.
ARSENAL'S ANAEMIC ATTACK
Under the microscope this season has been the form of star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has played every league game but has just two goals.
He has converted 10 per cent of his shots in all league games home and away but not all of the blame can be laid at his feet.
Focusing purely on home games, Arsenal have created 36 chances. Only Newcastle United (33), Burnley (32) and Crystal Palace (27) have created fewer.
Their attacking players have been responsible for the creation of just five big chances at home, that's seven fewer than Spurs and 11 fewer than Liverpool.
- Arsenal fired in 30 open play crosses against Wolves, this weekend; their most in a Premier League game in over four & a half years (February 2016). Cannon.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 1, 2020
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But they are converting big chances at home at the same rate as Tottenham (42.86), with Manchester City turning 40 per cent of their big chances at home into goals.
Despite Aubameyang's struggles, the numbers suggest the bigger problem is chance creation, rather than Arsenal's ability to take their opportunities.
In previous years, Arsenal's defence has often been pointed to as their primary weakness.
Though they conceded three goals at home to Aston Villa and two in their defeat to Wolves, Arsenal's backline has done a respectable job of preventing efforts on goal at home.
They have faced 52 shots (including blocks) at home, fewer than Chelsea (54), Manchester United (56), Leicester City (58) and Tottenham, who have faced 73.
Arsenal's goal has encountered just 18 shots on target in home games, the third-lowest total in the Premier League.
Instead, the finger should be pointed at their goalkeeper, Bernd Leno. The Gunners' save percentage at home is 57.89 per cent, the sixth-worst in the division.
Yet with Alex Runarsson posting a save percentage of 57.14 per cent across his four Europa League appearances, the answer to their goalkeeping woes might have to come via the transfer window.
Arsenal will be expected to see off Burnley at home this weekend but, if their home form doesn't turn around soon, the best solution may be to follow the lead of so many post-Christmas bargain hunters and look to the January sales.
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