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Arsenal’s hopes of forcing their way back into the upper echelons of the Premier League currently look nothing more than a fanciful pipe-dream.
Their dismal defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion over the weekend highlighted the size of the task manager Mikel Arteta faces this summer.
Given their current form, Arsenal will be lucky to finish in the top 10 this term – an outcome that would be a sad indictment of the current state of affairs at the club.
Read on as we assess the latest state of play at the Emirates Stadium and look at some of the key areas Arteta must address this summer.
Time is up for Ozil at Arsenal
Ozil was left out of the Gunners’ squad in their defeat at Manchester City and didn’t get off the bench as they slumped to another reverse at Brighton.
The decision to award him a massive new contract in 2018 has backfired spectacularly and Arsenal can no longer afford to indulge this underachieving luxury.
Getting the former German international off the wage bill certainly won’t be easy, but Arteta must somehow find a way to make it happen this summer.
Defensive liabilities need shipping out
Backing Arsenal to concede away goals in the league would have been the path to riches this season, with the team keeping just three clean sheets on the road. In fact, Arsenal have conceded more goals this season than the number of points they’ve collected so far.
David Luiz remains an accident waiting to happen and his error-strewn display at the Etihad Stadium proves he can’t be trusted.
Arteta also has a major problem at right-back, with Hector Bellerin lacking any semblance of the defensive ability Arsenal need at the moment as he still tries to recover his pre-ACL injury form.
The addition of William Saliba should improve things at centre-back, but Arsenal are still a long way from building the defence they need to climb back up the standings.
Leno injury an unwelcome headache
The news that goalkeeper Bernd Leno could be out of action for up to a year will have added a few digits to Arsenal’s odds to win the Premier League next season.
Leno went down in agony after a foolish challenge by Brighton’s Neal Maupay and there are fears he faces an extended spell on the sidelines.
Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart has already been tipped as a possible replacement for Leno as he would be available on a free transfer but that is unlikely to go down well with fans.
Hart certainly has a point to prove, although it is debatable whether a player who has failed to play a single league game for Burnley this season is the solution to the problem.
Big summer ahead for Arsenal
Arsenal will be a huge price to win the Premier League next term and it would be a huge surprise if they were able to achieve the feat.
Arteta’s tactical acumen has given the Gunners a slightly better defensive shape, although they still have too many individuals who aren’t up to the job.
The midfield area also needs overhauling, with the likes of Matteo Guendouzi still having plenty to prove if he is to establish himself in the Premier League.
Hanging onto Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is vital, but it would be no surprise if he looks at the chaos around him and decides to jump ship this summer.