Leicester City made it three away wins in a row to open the Premier League season for the first time ever as they beat Arsenal at The Emirates thanks to yet another Jamie Vardy goal.
The Foxes set up without a natural striker and kept Arsenal out before bringing on their talisman Vardy with 30 minutes to go, with the former England international tapping into an empty net with 11 minutes to go from Cenzig Under’s cross.
It was Leicester’s first shot on target in the game but Arsenal also severely struggled going forward and looked bereft of ideas as the clock wore on throughout.
Arteta started with a 433 formation using Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos in midfield behind Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Despite setting up in a more offensive manner Arsenal were gun shy, providing just four shots on target of their own throughout the game.
Arsenal had an early goal controversially ruled out for offside, but following on from that they struggled to create any real clear-cut chances as Lacazette continued to show why everyone bar Arteta is losing patience with him.
Saka was bright but lacked the end product at the end of his play, while Aubameyang was completely invisible throughout and has now gone five league games without a goal for the first time since November 2014.
Arteta’s pragmatic approach has started ruffling the feathers of fans too. The insistence of playing Aubameyang out wide while Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah continue to underperform as the central striker is baffling, especially considering the lack of creativity in midfield. With wide options including Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Willian, the obvious answer for Arteta is to use them and put Aubameyang in his natural position.
With Arteta’s current approach seemingly to lose as little as possible rather than win as much as possible, Arsenal are beginning to be found out by the teams around them and they need to find that balance between being open going forward but solid defensively.