7 Reasons Arsenal Is Still Massively Underachieving in the Premiership

Jake Little@@jakelittleContributor IIIDecember 1, 2011

7 Reasons Arsenal Is Still Massively Underachieving in the Premiership

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    Arsenal Football Club has enjoyed a nice run of form but is still underachieving. Robin Van Persie has been the key to the Gunners' success.

    Many people have labeled the Gunners as a one-man team, and with good reason. The rest of the team combined have yet to surpass the Dutchman's 13 goals in the Premiership this season.  

    The Gunners currently sit at seventh in the Premier League table. With disappointing results against Blackburn, Fulham and Manchester United, the Gunners have yet to hit their stride this season.

    While Arsenal's problems may seem easy to fix, there is actually a lot more than meets the eye.  

    If the Gunners are to realize their fullest potential this season, they are going to have to start working on some issues. 

Goal Scorers

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    Robin Van Persie has been Arsenal's standout player this season. The Dutchman leads the Premier League in goals scored with 13.

    Aside from Van Persie, the Gunners have been extremely short on goal scorers. In fact, the entire rest of the Arsenal squad has failed to outscore RVP in the Premiership this season.

    The Dutch International is the only Arsenal player to have scored more than three goals in league. 

    The Arsenal forwards need to start chipping in with more goals.

    Last season, Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin combined for 25 goals. This season, Walcott, Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey have combined for five goals.

    While the season is still young, Arsenal will need more players to chip in with goals if it is to realize its fullest potential this season.    

Defensive Record

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    Arsenal looks much stronger at the back than it did last season. Laurent Koscielny has blossomed into a great defender. His partnership with Thomas Vermaelen has been a welcomed change in defense.

    Wojciech Szczesny has also returned confidence to Gooners with some fantastic goal-keeping displays. Arsenal's defensive problems have mainly been in the full-back positions. 

    During the summer transfer window, Arsene Wenger opted to sell Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Eboue. Clichy had been a fixture at left-back for the Gunners since the 2006-2007 season. 

    In Emmanuel Eboue, Wenger sold his most qualified right-back behind Bacary Sagna. To replace the departed full-backs, Wenger brought in Andre Santos and Carl Jenkinson.

    Santos was brought in from Turkish Champions Fenerbahce to replace Clichy. In his time at the Emirates, Santos has put in some interesting performances.

    The Brazilian is a fantastic standing-tackler. He makes gut-busting runs down the left flank and loves to attack the opponent's box. At the same time, he has the tendency be caught out of position, which has been cause for concern.

    Carl Jenkinson was signed from Charlton Athletic after making just nine appearances for Charlton in the span of six months. 

    Jenkinson has shown some promise, but injuries and a lack of experience have led to a rough start for 19-year-old.

    Arsenal need to strengthen their defense. The Gunners have conceded 23 goals, which is the fifth most in the Premier League. 

Goal Differential

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    At the end of last season, Arsenal had a positive goal differential of 29, which was the third highest in the Premier League. 

    Arsenal currently sits at seventh in the Premier League with a positive goal differential of three. This statistic, while often unimportant, does prove that Arsenal are struggling to secure convincing wins.

    Arsenal has not had that special game. The Gunners haven't had the game that announces to the league "We are here and we are going to compete."

    Their most convincing wins have been against Bolton and West Brom. Both of those teams currently find themselves in the relegation zone. 

    If Arsenal is to reach its potential, the club needs to start beating its weaker opponents in a more convincing fashion.  

Individual Result: Arsenal 1, Fulham 1

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    Fulham is a strong Premier League team that doesn't roll over easily to their opponents. But this is still a fixture that Arsenal should have won.

    The Cottagers scored from nowhere when left-back John Riise burst forward to cause chaos in the Arsenal penalty box. 

    The Norwegian International made a great forward run. Danny Murphy crossed the ball from the right flank into the chest of Riise and Thomas Vermaelen was unlucky to curl the ball into his own net.

    The lapse in defense was due to poor defending from Theo Walcott and Johan Djourou. 

    Although Vermaelen would make up for his misfortune with a well-taken header in the 82nd minute, the Gunners were unable to come away with all three points. 

    The defensive lapse that led to Fulham gaining a 1-0 lead is just one of the many clear signs that the Gunners are still struggling defensively. Their defense is shaky and vulnerable to any unorthodox attack. 


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    It's seemingly a problem that Arsenal fans must endure each and every season. Injuries have hit the Gunners hard early in the season.

    Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs are all likely starters that have sustained long-term injuries early in the season. Sagna and Wilshere are both expected back in late January.

    Carl Jenkinson is another player that has been out of action recently. The right-back last played during the first week of November and is not expected back until mid-December.

    Injuries to Jenkinson and Sagna have left Arsene Wenger with limited options at the back.

    Wilshere's injury, while difficult on the team, may be beneficial to Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman has made strides this season. All signs point to a promising partnership between the two youngsters.

    Unfortunately, Arsenal still faces a challenge on the injury front. And it is a challenge that has been harmful to their season.  

Midfield Play

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    Mikel Arteta has not transitioned into the club as easily as most Arsenal fans would have hoped, but the Spaniard is showing signs of improvement. 

    Arteta has been a fixture in the Arsenal midfield along with Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey. Of the three, Ramsey has impressed the most.

    After a poor showing in the Gunners' 2-1 loss to Tottenham at White Hart Lane, the Welshman has seemed to grow increasingly confident and competent in the midfield. 

    His passing has improved, as evidenced by his chip to Gervinho against Stoke City. So too has his awareness of his role in the team. 

    Song has been his usual sturdy self, as he's shielded the often shaky defense behind him, but the midfield has not yet clicked.

    They have not yet had the game in which they all appeared to "get it." They've been on the brink of it for a while, and they have shown flashes of brilliance.

    Arsenal fans should have confidence in the club's current midfield, but at the moment, it is still underachieving. 

Arsenal Bench

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    It could be argued that the most underachieving cog in the Arsenal machine has been the play of the club's bench. This means you, Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh.

    The Arsenal bench has looked absolutely hopeless. Andrey Arshavin has yet to look interested in a Premier League match this season.

    The Russian has been dreadful and there are no signs that this dismal trend will soon end. Aside from his goal against Barcelona in February, which he took very well, the Russian has had an incredibly poor year.

    Chamakh has looked as useless as Arshavin. The striker looks depleted of confidence and creativity. The Moroccan had once showed promise, but even that has now vanished. 

    The only player to come off of the bench and make an impact all season was Robin Van Persie. Arsene Wenger chose to sit the club captain against Stoke City. 

    The score was level in the 67th minute and Wenger decided that it might be a good idea to bring on the Dutchman.

    Van Persie then scored two goals in the span of nine minutes to help his team secure a 3-1 victory.

    In the Premier League, sometimes good teams need to fall back on to their bench. Unfortunately, Arsenal has been unable to do so this season.