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Mikel Arteta has solved Arsenal’s defensive problem but now has another challenge on his mind

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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have come a long way in their year under the Spaniard, with considerable improvements across the board.

Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka have all become integral members of the first-team, with Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey also growing in their importance.

The January transfer window showed what Arteta and Edu have planned, trimming a bloated squad of a number of high earners – as the club waved goodbye to Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

A rebuild behind the scenes has long been necessary, with Arteta inheriting an Arsenal squad that had high-earning, under-performing players, scattered with contract uncertainty.

That project is still ongoing and will continue to be crucial to the evolution of the side and, while the transfer incoming and outgoings will always attract the biggest headlines, it’s ultimately a results business and it counts for nothing if performances on the field are not up to scratch.

Thankfully, there’s considerable improvements in this area too – with none more evident than Arsenal’s defensive strength. A once frail, vulnerable and messy back-line has, for the most part, become organised, strong and efficient.

The stats show this, with just 22 goals conceded in 22 matches, a tally only bettered by Manchester City and Tottenham, the latter of which have played two games less at the time of writing.

That has seen Arteta solve one of Arsenal’s biggest problems over the years but, at the other end of the field, there is plenty of room for improvement as just 27 goals have been scored and only the bottom-seven in the division have a worse return in front of goal.

In comparison, Arsenal were only outscored by the top-six last season. Clearly, there are issues to be resolved and a fluidity in the final third that needs to be rekindled.

Another concern for Arteta is the heavy responsibility that has fallen upon Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Saka. Between them, the trio have scored over 66% of the Gunners’ Premier League goals this season.

That is why Nicolas Pepe’s signs of life will be welcomed. In his past three Premier League appearances, he’s found the net twice. In his last four starts, he’s scored three goals. The more you delve into the Ivorian’s numbers, the more promising the signs are to suggest that the Gunners are starting to get their worth from their £72m man.

His fine showings continued in the midweek defeat to Wolves which, frustratingly, was probably the best that Arteta’s side have played in an attacking sense since he took over – right up until the David Luiz red card and the penalty that turned the tide of the game.

If Pepe can continue on his current trajectory, Arsenal will reap the benefits and the Europa League is where he may shine brightest, having contributed three goals and three assists in the comfortable progression from the group stages.

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Arsenal closing in on a deal for Bayer Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba

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Arsenal is set on closing deal with Bayern Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba with the sum of £50m

Hopefully the defender will be at Emirate stadium this summer according to sky sports

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Just In: New pictures of Arsenal’s 2021/22 away kit leaked

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The first pictures of Arsenal’s first team squad sporting next season’s away kit have been leaked.

After this season’s, bloodshot eyes shirt, the club are returning to a more traditional yellow and blue combination for 2021/22.

The shade of yellow – ‘pearl citrine’ in adidas parlance – may look a little like custard but the use of the stripped-back cannon badge is a nice touch.

We expect to see similar shots of the home and third kits in due course. The latter is predicted to be blue with a lightning motif inspired by the kits of the mid-nineties.

 

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📺 Miquel Azeez is Simply Outstanding, Watch As He Nutmegs 3 Defenders To Score A Goal

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Miquel Azeez Has Been Outstanding For Arsenal Un23 side this season, he continues his great run of form yesterday as score a man of the match goal to hand Arsenal Un23 side a victory in the final game of the season.

📺 Watch The Great Goal…

https://twitter.com/ArsenalAcademy/status/1392523112919486473?s=19

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