24-year-old is a liability: Three things we learned about Arsenal in draw to Bournemouth
By Dominic Toner
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Arsenal’s 3-3 draw against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Xhaka is a liability
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka once again reminded supporters how much of a liability he can be. The 24-year-old is blessed with great technical ability, but gave away a needless penalty for a foul on Ryan Fraser. Xhaka is recognised for having a poor disciplinary record and picked up a red card against Swansea this season. The central midfielder has been sent off eight times since 2014 and is not a player that Arsene Wenger can rely on. The Gunners are trying to compete at the top-end of the table and Xhaka’s rashness is a real concern. Arsenal completed a £30million deal in the summer for Xhaka, but he is yet to prove himself in the Premier League and could be facing a spell on the bench in the immediate future.
Bellerin must improve his defending
Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin is regarded as one of the best right-backs in the Premier League, but he needs to improve the defensive side of his game. The 21-year-old is blessed with lightning pace and is a great attacking threat for the Gunners. He began his career as an attacker and was transformed into a right-back by Arsenal, but he was defensively naive against Bournemouth. Charlie Daniels capitalised on Bellerin’s poor positioning and got into the penalty area, before easily evading a last ditch challenge from Bellerin to score. Ryan Fraser then was strong in a one-on-one challenge with Bellerin and he went on to score the third goal. He has the potential to be a top defender and has been linked with a move to Barcelona in the past, but certainly needs to show more tactical awareness as a defender.
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Title hopes extremely slim
Arsenal’s dreams of the Premier League title were dealt another shattering blow following the draw to Bournemouth. They did fantastically well to earn a dramatic point after being 3-0 down, but are eight points behind league leaders Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side could go 11 points clear if they win their game in hand against Tottenham on Wednesday and leave Arsenal in a difficult position. The competition in the Premier League title this year is so high that it already seems unlikely that Arsenal can top the table. The division’s top sides have been easing to victories against the lesser sides and it’s hard to see how the Gunners can bridge the gap to the top.