Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell feels the way his team fell apart in the weekend defeat to Aston Villa highlighted an overall lack of defensive acumen in the team, with right-back Hector Bellerin coming in for particular criticism.
The Gunners have switched between a back three and back four system throughout Mikel Arteta’s tenure and defensive consistency has been hard to come by.
Campbell feels the manager would have been unpleasantly surprised by the lack of fight and ability to hold out against a more progressive Villa side in the eventual 3-0 home defeat, while saying Bellerin had to offer more to stop the build-up play down his side.
“Arteta was shocked by the performance and the way the team capitulated,” he said.
“Bellerin is not a good defender and he got exposed against Jack Grealish.
“Grealish had the run of the Emirates down that left-hand side. You have to be able to defend against your winger one-on-one.
“Just getting back into your shape is not enough against ball players like Grealish. Ball players will play it around you and expose you and that is what Grealish and [Ross] Barkley did. You have to affect the ball.
“Bellerin did not get much help though. You were hoping Rob Holding could [do that] but he is still coming back from injury. Ollie Watkins showed that Holding was still rusty.”
Arsenal sit in mid-table with four wins and four draws from their eight games so far, with Leeds, Wolves and Spurs their next league games after the international break.
The FA Cup winners are four points off Southampton in fourth, with Arteta aiming to take the Gunners back among Europe’s elite in the coming seasons.
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