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Arsenal fail to convince again as Mikel Arteta invites pressure with tactical tweaks

Arsenal fail to convince again as Mikel Arteta invites pressure with tactical tweaks

A result like this has been coming for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who haven’t found the right balance early this season.

Arsenal had won their first two games unconvincingly and disappointingly drew at home against 10-man Fulham on Saturday.

New signings Declan Rice and Kai Havertz have been brought in to lift the team but have caused growing pains upon their introduction.

Arteta has tried to accommodate the duo by tweaking his system but it has disrupted the cohesion shown during Arsenal’s title push last season.

His 4-3-3 system looks very straightforward on paper but Thomas Partey has moved to right back and a host of centre-backs have played at left-back.

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Partey constantly drifts into midfield to help the build-up with the left-back moving across to create a back three.

In possession, it leaves Arsenal in more like a 3-2-5 formation but Marco Silva brilliantly nullified it at the Emirates.

Andreas Pereira opened the scoring after 57 seconds. He took advantage of Bukayo Saka’s mistake and the space Partey vacated to help the attack.

The front five of Havertz, Martin Odegaard, Leandro Trossard, Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were ineffective in chasing the equaliser and kept stepping on each other’s toes in attack.

The two wingers kept looking to cut inside and none of the central attackers ran in behind the defence, all wanting the ball to feet at the edge of the box.

It left Arsenal looking predictable and playing into Fulham’s hands, who got the better of the first half.

Arteta’s half-time changes saw him switch back to a more familiar shape, bringing on Oleksandr Zinchenko for Partey and switching Ben White to right back where he previously excelled. Eddie Nketiah came on to offer a threat running in behind, while Fabio Vieira came on for a poor Havertz.

Arsenal are struggling for balance after a huge summer spend (Getty Images)
Arsenal are struggling for balance after a huge summer spend (Getty Images)

Vieira won the penalty that Saka cooly finished before setting up Nketiah’s goal just two minutes later to get Arsenal’s noses in front.

Nketiah forced Calvin Bassey to make a mistake and get sent off with a clever piece of play but Joao Palhinha stunned the Emirates by turning in a corner in the 87th minute for 10-man Fulham.

Arsenal have been unlucky to lose Jurrien Timber for the season through a major knee injury but have also not found a way to get the best out of a group dynamic changed by £150million worth of new midfield signings.

It is early days but Arteta could see Arsenal fall behind in the title race against Manchester City and find himself under pressure if it doesn’t come together in the next few matches.