Arsenal were humbled once again in the Premier League as they surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to Fulham at Craven Cottage. The Gunners, who were defeated by West Ham on Thursday, went ahead of five minutes as Bukayo Saka bundled the ball in from close range but were pegged back when Raul Jimenez got on the end of a Tom Cairney cross. Bobby De Cordova-Reid then turned the match on its head just before the hour mark, with the west Londoners holding out for victory. And Express Sport takes a look at the biggest talking points from the clash.
Duo caught in heated exchange
Just before Fulham scored their second goal, Gunners midfielder Declan Rice and defender Gabriel were involved in a heated exchange as the duo screamed in each other’s faces. They were clearly unhappy with each other and with how the match was going. But if Arsenal’s team spirit dwindles, they will have no hope of beating the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool to the title.
Result highlights where January signings are needed
Against West Ham on Thursday evening, Arsenal broke the Premier League record for the number of touches in the opposition penalty area without scoring. The Gunners touched the ball in the territory 77 times without being able to find the back of the net.
Arsenal’s top Premier League goal scorer this season Saka has just six top-flight goals to his name, while his attacking team-mates Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah have only another 10 between them. If Arsenal want to be crowned champions, they will need to be more clinical in front of goal, and Arteta may be forced to bring in a new frontman in January. And the Spaniard should also feel obligated to bolster his side’s defence with a star defender who can make the difference at the back.
Passive football won’t win titles
Arsenal were far too passive in the first half against Marco Silva’s men as they allowed Fulham to come onto them. There was a distinct lack of intensity from the visitors as Fulham controlled much of the game before the interval and the Gunners may have even been guilty of some complacency after Saka had scored the opening goal so early.
The team that wins the Premier League won’t be a passive one. Manchester City have shown in the past that taking matches to the opposition and attacking at will can reap huge rewards. So Mikel Arteta may need to tweak his tactics if he wants to guide his side to their first Premier League title in 20 years come May.
Lack of clean sheets a worry
Arteta made the controversial decision to replace Aaron Ramsdale with David Raya during the opening weeks of the campaign. And while the Spain international hasn’t been a downgrade, there are plenty of arguments to suggest he hasn’t been an upgrade either.
The Gunners defence haven’t excelled in every match this season and the team have now kept just one clean sheet in their last seven Premier League matches. Winning matches becomes difficult if teams are required to score at least two goals a game to nail a victory.
Arsenal fail to learn lessons from last season
Arsenal looked destined to win the Premier League title last season but then went off the rails following a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in April as they drew three games in a row before losing to Manchester City. And Arteta’s side won just three of their final nine games.
Arsenal suffered a torrid run of form over the festive period after winning just one of four matches ahead of their trip to Craven Cottage. And the north London giants appear to be repeating their woes from the end of last season as they have now just taken four points from the last 15 available.