Three issues Mikel Arteta must solve next year if Arsenal are to qualify for Champions League – Football.London

Following a tragic start to the 2021/2022 Premier League season – with no points on the board after three games – Arsenal have demonstrated impressive levels of consistency and are currently sitting in fourth place going into the festive break.

Manager Mikel Arteta will hope that his men can continue their fine form after Christmas and are in a position where they can finish in one of those all-important Champions League places come May.

But in order for this to happen, it’s imperative that the former Manchester City assistant manager solves the following three issues.

Aubameyang’s situation

Following his latest disciplinary breach, Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng was officially stripped of the club captaincy last week.

The Gabonese international hasn’t featured in any of the Gunners’ last four fixtures in all competitions, with doubts over his future at the club now intensifying.

Whilst the likes of Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli have all recently chipped in with crucial goals, the fact that they currently don’t have a reliable frontman is a concern.

With senior strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang only managing six goals between them this season, a new striker should be on the agenda.

In terms of who has been linked with a move to the Emirates, Dusan Vlahovic, Ollie Watkins and Dominic Calvert Lewin all possess profiles that Arteta likes in a centre forward.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal future has been called into question. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Arsenal future has been called into question. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

But acquiring top targets in the winter window has always been difficult, so if Arsenal aren’t able to bring in a new striker, Arteta will have to analyse internal solutions and find ways in which his men can score enough goals relative to their competitors.

Thomas Partey’s absence

Whilst the Ghanaian hasn’t had a fantastic season, to say the least, Partey is still a crucial cog to the functionality of the current Arsenal team.

His partnership alongside Granit Xhaka has given the Gunners stability in front of the back four, but with Partey participating in the Africa Cup of Nations, Arteta will need to find a sustainable midfield solution in his absence.

Xhaka is a key figure for the Spaniard and usually starts every game if available, so uncertainty only revolves around who his partner will be in the double pivot.

Whether it’s Albert Sambi Lokonga, Ainsley Maitland Niles or perhaps even Martin Odegaard, it’s crucial that balance is achieved within the engine room of the team in order for positive results to be obtained.

Improvement in away form

Arsenal are joint with leaders Manchester City in terms of home form, taking 22 points out of a possible 27.

Their performances on the road however have been very underwhelming, with only 10 points obtained from nine games played.

If Arsenal are to secure a Champions League place, ahead of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, it’s vital that Arteta finds ways in which his team can gain greater control away from home, as this is something that has been lacking in many games away from N5 this season.

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