Arsene Wenger’s verdict on Arsenal’s shocking Premier League start

Date published: Friday 3rd September 2021 3:23 - Matthew Briggs

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal are “in good shape” despite their shocking start to the new Premier League season.

An opening-day defeat to Brentford has been followed by defeats to Champions League holders Chelsea and reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

In fact the Gunners are yet to score and sit bottom of the table on -9 goal difference. However, they did knock six past WBA in the Carabao Cup.

Mikel Arteta has not been able to get his best team on to the field due to injuries and Covid-19 cases.

And Wenger is sure the club is in good hands.

“Today the club is in good shape,” Wenger told Bild Live on Friday. “They had two tough games [against Chelsea and Manchester City], the team has potential and I hope they can come back.”

Wenger was also asked about an unlikely return to The Emirates.

He added: “I’m 71. I’ve given this club the best years of my life. At the moment I’m just a fan.”

Elsehwere, Arteta could be ready to return to a back three after fielding a three-man defence on Thursday.

The Gunners took on a youthful Brentford side at London Colney in a behind-closed-doors friendly and came out on top.

Arteta’s men won 4-0, but it was hardly revenge for their opening Premier League defeat last month. The Bees fielded an inexperienced line-up, while Arteta threw in some of his big guns.

 

Gabriel broke the deadlock early in the second half with a powerful finish from inside the area. Alexandre Lacazette scored the second with a brilliant, curling free-kick before Cedric Soares scored twice late on to give the scoreline a lop-sided look.


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Arteta goes with a back three

While Arteta was happy with the work-out, the interesting point to emanate from the training ground was the use of a back three.

The Spaniard has not had much joy from his favoured 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 system in the opening three matches. In fact Arsenal’s start has been miserable with defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City without scoring a single goal.

 

Arteta did use a three-man defence against City, but that often looked like a back five with Soares and Tierney pushed back. It’s worth noting though that Arteta has had injury problems with Rob Holding and Pablo Mari featuring.

Pablo Mari started at Colney with White and Gabriel either side of him in the middle of the defence. Calum Chambers played the full 90 minutes at right wing-back, with Soares on the left.

Arteta also hinted new boy Takehiro Tomiyasu can play in a back three.

The Japan international only arrived from Bologna for £17.2m on deadline day.

“Again, we followed him for a while,” said Arteta at London Colney. “We needed a full-back who could be very versatile, can play as a centre back, can play in a back three, Tomi has this capacity.”


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