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Leicester City 2 - Arsenal 0: same old Arsenal

It was fine, maybe even good, until it wasn’t.

Leicester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League
We are all Hector Bellerin in this shot.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

For a while, Arsenal played well. There were times during the match where they looked the more likely side to score. It was shaping up to be the club’s best performance in a while. Even after going down 1-0, they still had life. They didn’t manage a shot after going behind, but they had some threatening attacking moves. When it went to 2-0, the energy went out of the team. It became 20 minutes of playing out the string to a result that everybody expected.

I’m honestly not sure what disappoints me more: that Arsenal go into matches with everybody expecting dropped points or the way in which the side managed to do it today. It’s the same mistakes over, and over, and over again.

On both goals, Arsenal defenders outnumbered Leicester attackers by at least 2 men. But nobody was marking. They were standing still, staring at the ball while attackers came open around them. This has been a problem at Arsenal for ages. They don’t track midfield runners. They don’t get tight to their marks.

In the first half, the Gunners turned the ball over at least five times trying to play out of the back. Three of the times were on the exact same passing sequence with the exact same pressure and defending from Leicester. None of the turnovers led to a goal, but they did lead to dangerous chances. It happens every single game.

It would be one thing if Arsenal were finding new and innovative ways to lose football matches, but they aren’t. They are making the same mistakes and losing in the same way. That goes directly to the coaching. The manager needs to recognize the mistakes and make adjustments. But it’s also on the players. They have played enough football and are smart enough to recognize patterns of play and make some adjustments themselves.

Arsenal are off to their worst start since 1982. They’ve taken 58 points from their last 38 matches — that’s good for around 6th place, which is not where the club aspires to be.

Much more worrying is that they’ve taken just 24 points from the last 19 Premier League matches. That’s a 48-point pace, which would see Arsenal just above the bottom third. That’s not even close to acceptable.

And now, we wait. With two weeks until the next match because of the international break, if Arsenal are going to sack Unai Emery, now’s the time to do it. If he is still the manager on Tuesday morning, I’d wager he’s the manager until May.

Can Arsenal afford that?