Gunners Without Kevlar: An Analysis of Arsenal's Defensive Failures

Despite leading the Premier League for months, Arsenal is out of the title race. 


The football season was 2003–2004 when London-based Premier League club Arsenal won its last Premier League under the reign of Arsene Wenger. 19 years later, Arsenal finally had the chance to reclaim the trophy. However, despite leading the Premier League for over half the season, manager Mikel Arteta’s men botched up their title race.


Next Sunday, if Arsenal hopes to win the league, they must win against Nottingham Forest. However, it still may not be enough if, next month, Manchester City continues their winning streak against Chelsea.


In the following paragraphs, we have analyzed Arsenal’s top defensive failures that ruined their chance of lifting the Premier League title after almost two decades.


Defeats at home


It is quite strange that despite the brilliant performances of Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, and William Saliba, Arsenal struggled to keep their calm in front of the home fans. For example, the team recently lost 3-0 against Brighton at home and before that drew 3-3 against Southampton.


No depth in defensive line-up


Arsenal’s great run suffered its first defensive loss when Saliba suffered an injury during a Europa League game against Sporting CP. Since then, Saliba has not featured for Arsenal, and without him, Arsenal only managed to win 15 points out of a possible 27, according to media outlet Goal.


Apart from Saliba, Arsenal’s other credible defender, Takehiro Tomiyasu, was also ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering an injury against Sporting. These injuries left Arsenal with a defensively weak side.


City’s upper hand


For years, Arsenal has failed to win against Manchester City. Given the change in their character, a win was expected from them. However, this year too, Arsenal failed to win against City and lost the away game 4-1. The Gunners also failed to win the home game with a 1-3 scoreline against City. In short, in the later half of the tournament, Arsenal’s defence kept running like a headless chicken.


Keane’s insight

Roy Keane, a former football legend, believes Arsenal really lost the title race against West Ham and Southampton. "I think when you look at some of the games over the last five or six weeks, the West Ham game [a 2-2 away draw] particularly stands out for me. The West Ham and Southampton [3-3 home draw] games," as quoted by Sky Sports.