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Arsenal's soft underbelly remains under Unai Emery on the road

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Arsenal’s soft underbelly remains under Unai Emery on the road… they have claimed an incredible 22 points less away than at Emirates and have conceded one more than Cardiff!

  • Arsenal’s ‘soft underbelly’ that was there under Arsene Wenger still remains
  • Unai Emery can’t lay claim to improvement when his side still struggle away
  • The Premier League table on away results alone has them down in ninth position 
  • The 31 goals they have conceded from 17 games is one more than Cardiff

We are, it seems, constantly wrestling with the notion of Unai Emery’s Arsenal being better than the one he inherited from Arsene Wenger.

You only have to look at their away performances to reach the conclusion that very little has changed.

The ‘soft underbelly’ we called it in Wenger’s day, a vulnerability when the going got tough. And so it remains the case under Emery.

Arsenal's dreadful away form could see them miss out on Champions League football yet again

Arsenal’s dreadful away form could see them miss out on Champions League football yet again

Unai Emery's side fell to another defeat away from home on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to Wolves

Unai Emery's side fell to another defeat away from home on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to Wolves

Unai Emery’s side fell to another defeat away from home on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to Wolves

If Arsenal’s greatest Premier League side won the moniker ‘The Invincibles’, how about ‘The Invisibles’ for the current vintage when they leave the comfort of North London?

They were a shambles during Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat at Wolves, conceding three times in 17 minutes before half-time, and this after a promising start.

Emery cannot realistically lay claim to improvement when his side are repeatedly capable of such performances on the road. 

And for all the talk of systems and formations, it remains the suspicion that personnel are the underlying cause of their dismal away form.

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Henrik Mkhitaryan, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi aren’t the first names you would associate with resolution, sweat and tenacity, qualities often needed in a division where you have to earn the right to play away from home.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Co don't have the tenacity and sweat needed to play away

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Co don't have the tenacity and sweat needed to play away

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Co don’t have the tenacity and sweat needed to play away 

The league table on away results alone has Arsenal in ninth, beneath Crystal Palace, Watford and Leicester respectively, and each of their top-six rivals.

The 31 goals they have conceded from 17 games is one more than Cardiff and equal to Brighton, the two teams left scrapping it our for survival. That demonstrates the level they are at when removed from the cosy surrounds of the Emirates Stadium, where their home record is bettered by only title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool.

Wenger signed off last season after seven straight away defeats, the club’s worst run since 1966. It was not as if Emery was in the dark when it came to identifying flaws and areas for improvement.

He has tried four at the back and a three-man defence, using wing-backs to push forward and exploit the space created by their inside forwards. It is Arsenal, however, who have found themselves exploited.

The Gunners' soft underbelly during Arsene Wenger's final years still remains under Emery

The Gunners' soft underbelly during Arsene Wenger's final years still remains under Emery

The Gunners’ soft underbelly during Arsene Wenger’s final years still remains under Emery

They lost heart at Wolves after a decent opening in which they pinned the hosts in their own half but could not find a way through. Their passing became sloppy, decision-making unfathomable and application reduced, all trademarks of the away-day demise under Wenger.

It is this that will cost Arsenal a place in the top four and undermine Emery’s hopes of progression, especially given the loss of Champions League football as an attraction for would-be recruits.

Speak to Arsenal supporters and they say it is a lack of leadership that is their biggest weakness away from home. Where, they argue, are the standard-bearers whipping others into line when interest wanes as games slip away?

And that is why it comes back to personnel. Ozil, in particular, has come to define the wishy-washy nature of modern-day Arsenal.

There is no longer a fear-factor when the Gunners roll into town, the trepidation is all theirs.

Arsenal no longer have that fear-factor needed on their travels in the Premier League

Arsenal no longer have that fear-factor needed on their travels in the Premier League

Arsenal no longer have that fear-factor needed on their travels in the Premier League



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Arsenal ace Lucas Torreira drops transfer revelation that could WORRY Gunners fans

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Torreira joined the Gunners from Sampdoria lsat summer and impressed in his debut season at the Emirates.

The Uruguayan made 34 Premier League appearances as the Gunners finished fifth, scoring twice.

But he has now thrown his Arsenal future into doubt by admitting he wants to play in South America.

“One day, I want to play for Boca and wear their shirt,” Torreira said.

“It’s a dream I have had since I was a little kid. It’s no secret, my family and friends know that.

“I was with several friends [at the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid]. I did not think I was going to suffer so much, I lived it with a lot of nerves.

“It was not as we wanted, but reaching the final is not for anyone. It was a nice show because I had never had the chance to see Boca.”

Arsenal boss Unai Emery is expected to have a busy summer, though his budget may be limited.

First, the Europa League final against Chelsea on May 29 is on Emery’s mind though.

Though the Spaniard recently admitted he needs money to improve his Arsenal squad.

He said: ”I think we can improve first, by spending money to achieve players.

“In the past the club have done great work in watching players, finding and signing young players and developing our players in the academy.

“I have big respect for our work, for our players in the academy.

“I want to develop the players here—giving them progress to achieve something at a big club like we are.

“We can also achieve [buy] some players who are in other teams, who can come here and give us this performance—like [Virgil] Van Dijk with Liverpool.”

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Arsenal facing transfer PROBLEM because of Man Utd, Liverpool and Nicolas Pepe

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Arsenal boss Unai Emery is looking to the transfer window to strengthen his squad, regardless of whether or not they win the Europa League.

But Manchester United and Liverpool are looking to do the same, with both clubs interested in securing Pepe’s signature.

The Lille star, who is also in the Gunners’ sights, has enjoyed a stunning campaign with the Ligue 1 giants.

The 23-year-old has bagged an impressive 20 goals from 36 league outings, clocking up 11 assists along the way.

Express Sport understands Arsenal are interested in securing Lorient hitman Alexis Claude-Maurice.

But Lille want him too as a replacement for United and Liverpool target Pepe.

Should one of Arsenal’s domestic rivals swoop for the star, then Lille may go in for Claude-Maurice.

And that would give the Gunners a problem, with Emery eager to sign Claude-Maurice as well this summer.

Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move to Pepe.

But United, according to journalist Duncan Castles, have enquired about the player Arsenal are also tracking.

“One of the clubs interested in Pepe [that] have expressed an interest to Lille is Manchester United,” he told The Transfer Window podcast.

“I’m told that last week a phone call went in to one of the Lille directors to enquire about the cost of a transfer for Pepe, who’s been outstanding in the French division this year, scoring goals and creating goals with a great deal of pace, actually a very good fit to what Manchester United would need on the right wing, to ask whether he would be available for sale.

“So Manchester United have shown their hand there. They’ve not gone any further.

“I’m told there’s been no bid and there’s been no further contact with Lille since that enquiry.

“But, again, the market’s beginning to move.

“Clubs like Lille who have players like Pepe who they know they will sell this summer, they very openly advertised and set a fee for him, would like to have as many of the big clubs bidding for him as possible, are waiting for one of these big clubs to make a move and inject money into the market so they can spend and recruit elsewhere, and those moves have implications for everyone else.”

Arsenal have also been linked with Kostas Manolas, Wilfried Zaha and Samuel Umtiti.

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Arsenal star hopes to play last Gunners game in Europa League final vs Chelsea

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Danny Welbeck could be available to play for Arsenal in the Europa League final after returning to training.

The 28-year-old has not played after breaking his ankle in November.

The Injury was so severe it required him to go under the knife twice as part of his recovery.

However, following Welbeck’s return to full training Arsenal are now planning to take him to Baku to face Chelsea, reports the Daily Mail.

Although the player will travel with the squad it is not known what involvement, if any, the England international will have during the final on May 29.

It is expected to be a farewell game for Welbeck, after Arsenal boss Unai Emery confirmed the player will be leaving the club when his contract expires in the summer.

Following Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Brighton in their final Premier League game, Emery confirmed Welbeck’s departure.

“I spoke to the club with this situation and the decision is he is going to leave,” Emery said at the time.

Despite Welbeck missing half of the season through injury, he could get an opportunity to help the club qualify for the Champions League next year as Arsenal might not be taking Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Azerbaijan.

The club have made it clear they want Mkhitaryan to travel, but the 30-year-old Armenian might be caught up in political tensions if he travels to the game.

That is because there is currently a dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

Arsenal are seeking guarantees from UEFA about the situation with Mkhitaryan, but the club are reputedly growing concerned about the situation.

The Gunners have already played in Azerbaijan in the Europa League this season, when they took on Qarabag FK in the group stages of the tournament.

Mkhitaryan did not travel to Baku to play but the Gunners did win 3-0 on the night.

However, it might not just be Mkhitaryan not making the journey to Azerbaijan, as thousands of fans from both clubs also face the prospect of missing out.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have only been allocated 6,000 tickets each from the 68,700 seats at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, a decision which has infuriated fans.

And those who are lucky enough to get a ticket then face the logistical nightmare of completing a 2,500 mile round trip to attend the game.

Uefa have apologised to both clubs over the travel chaos fans face but admit they hadn’t expected an all-English final.

“It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment,” Uefa competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said.

“There is little doubt that this has added significant difficulties to the event logistics.

“We are really sorry for the problems that your (and Chelsea’s) fans are encountering trying to organise their journey to Baku.

“Our experts are keenly working on this matter with a view to help find cheaper solutions for travelling fans. We would welcome a joint effort with your club in this respect.”

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