Arsenal’s struggles continued on Thursday, as they fell to Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium. The rare loss to the Seagulls meant that the Gunners have failed to collect a victory in nine consecutive games in all competitions. While Arsenal fans were hoping that the team’s slump would come to a halt after a coaching change, this hasn’t been the case.
Interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg was given the reins following the sacking of Unai Emery on November 29th. Although there were a few promising signs in his first match in charge (a 2-2 draw away to Norwich last weekend), Arsenal’s form and luck have continued down the same path under the Swede as it did with Emery in charge.
Following yet another disappointing result, Hector Bellerin claimed that nothing is going right for the Gunners at the moment. “I don’t know what to say,” stated the defender. “I have the feeling that whatever we do, it doesn’t come out right. The team gave its best, we created chances, we defended good, but it seems like we need so many chances to score and teams score every chance against us. I am lost for words.”
The Bellerin comments appear to sum things up fairly well at Arsenal. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to get out of a bad slump, and this team has zero luck at the moment. With no luck and no confidence, the Gunners find themselves at a defining moment in their season. Closer to the relegation zone than the top four, Arsenal will have to turn around their form quickly to have any chance of a decent season.
While there is plenty of time left in the current campaign, this recent collapse just happens to coincide with a very favorable schedule in league play. Arsenal have fallen down the Premier League table when, on paper anyway, they should have been collecting victories against ‘easier’ opponents. This means that the Gunners will have to climb back up the standings against tougher teams in the near future.
One thing is for certain: Arsenal need to appoint an established, veteran coach as their next manager. Not only is this unquestionable, but it would also behoove the club to go for a more defensive-minded person as well. This Arsenal team has conceded two goals in five consecutive games. Their defensive structure is all over the place and it has been for some years now.
Massimiliano Allegri and Diego Simeone are two names that should be at the top of Arsenal’s managerial wish list. Either one of these managers would bring stability to the Gunners at a time in which they desperately need it. Although, obviously, both of these managers would cost quite a bit of money as well. Nevertheless, the Arsenal brass needs to make a bold statement moving forward.