An alarming stat came out on the back of our disappointing draw to Watford, a stat that points to some deep-seated worries in our backline.
So far, we have faced more shots than any other in the Premier League.
And Serie A.
And Le Championnat.
And La Liga.
It shows that we are far too open, too compromising in games. In every game this season, our opposition have had more shots than us, bar the opening game against Newcastle.
What has gone wrong? We have gone backward in a defensive sense, and the game against Watford was the wake up call for us all, who were waiting for us to click, rather than devolve.
Last season we saw us enjoy more than twenty games unbeaten as we recovered from a weak start to finally show our teeth. This season was meant to be even better, as the new methods and training that Unai Emery had been bedding down would finally start to sprout.
Instead, we look lax, far too accommodating and unable to stop any manner of opposition from pressing their game upon us.
So, what choices do we have to remedy this? What should Emery do?
Drop David Luiz
The Brazilian can add to our squad, but he shouldn’t be an automatic start. When we have the likes of Chambers and Holding in our ranks, Luiz should be mere cover, rather than the go-to man that Emery is using him as.
Employ the press
At times last season, especially during our more impressive games, we pressed the opposition and it forced mistakes, something we’ve been privy to ourselves this season. We haven’t seen that at all so far this campaign. Our midfield has been bereft of any pressure, and reactive instead of proactive when not in possession.
Keep Dani Ceballos – In both senses of the word
The Spaniard has been excellent so far this season. When Emery took him off the pitch, we struggled to relieve the pressure. Ceballos is a ball carrier and has an eye for a pass so can alleviate pressure better than our other midfielders. To spring our attack and also help out our team, we need Ceballos on – and kept on. We should also move heaven and earth to sign him permanently. Keep on him, give him an offer he can’t refuse.
Let’s hope we see an improvement in our next game.