·7 February 2023
·7 February 2023
Arsenal face a “big test” to come up with a plan B against sides who are happy to sit back against them as they look to sustain their title challenge at the Emirates Stadium, journalistDean Jones has suggested to GiveMeSport.
Mikel Arteta’s side are looking to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Everton for the visit of Brentford this weekend.
Arsenal will have come out of the weekend feeling frustrated that they were unable to continue their impressive Premier League form, with the side’s fixture at Everton looking set to be a matter of formality before kick-off.
However, an impressive performance from Sean Dyche’s men against the league leaders meant that the Gunners deservedly left Goodison Park empty-handed in what was a major blow to the side's title chances.
In what will come as a relief to the Arsenal faithful, the north London outfit were able to maintain their five-point gap to second-placed Manchester City after Pep Guardiola’s side also suffered a 1-0 defeat on the road at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
And Jones has suggested that Arteta needs to come up with a plan B for teams who sit in deep, after his side struggled to a 0-0 stalemate with Newcastle United in a Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium at the beginning of January.
When reacting to Arsenal’s defeat at Everton, Jones told GiveMeSport: “Newcastle was the same, they frustrated them. They got into them and broke up the play. Arsenal didn't really know how to come up with a plan B. So, I think that's going to be the big test for them in terms of tactics.”
As Jones has suggested, Arsenal must now find a solution for teams who are prepared to sit deep for 90 minutes in a bid to grind out enough victories to seal their first league title since 2003.
As per BBC Sport, Arteta’s side had plenty of possession of the ball (71%) but were unable to turn that control of the game into genuine chances, having had 15 shots of which only three managed to hit the target.
In fact, according to The xG Philosophy, Arsenal’s expected goals rate was just 0.88 compared to Everton’s 1.89, signifying that the league leaders had no answer to Dyche’s compact backline, something which the Spanish head coach will have to work out with plenty of fixtures against bottom-half teams still in store for the Gunners.
However, having won 16 Premier League fixtures out of a possible 20 this season, Arteta will feel that slip-ups are to be expected and that an emphatic response against Brentford on Saturday will settle the nerves of the Arsenal faithful heading into the crunch period of the campaign.
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