Arsenal: 5 Things the Gunners Need to Do In Order to Improve Their Woeful Away Form

​Arsenal beat Valencia 3-1 in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie at the Emirates; a 22nd home triumph in 29 games in all competitions, an excellent record. 

However, the Gunners’ away from paints a very different picture. Arsenal have lost 10 away games in all competitions, including their last three away fixtures, damaging their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League through a top four position in the Premier League.

Arsenal’s problems away from home have continued from last season, where under Arsène Wenger they only won four league games on the road.

Unai Emery has a number of issues to address if he is to improve Arsenal’s away form, and here we take a look at five things Arsenal can do to fix their away day blues.

5. Stick With the 3-4-1-2 Formation 


Unai Emery has changed​ Arsenal‘s formation often this season, predominantly using the 3-4-1-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations. While constantly tinkering with the system has not affected Arsenal’s results at home, it has caused confusion on the road where teams are prepared to be positive and attacking. 

The 3-4-1-2 formation allows Arsenal’s three best attacking players, ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ​Alexandre Lacazette and ​Mesut Özil to play in their favoured positions while giving them additional protection in defence, where they are suspect.

Arsenal’s best away result of the season, their 1-0 victory over ​Napoli in second leg of their Europa League quarter-final, came while playing this formation. 

Emery has played the 4-2-3-1 on occasions but five of Arsenal’s eight away losses have been while playing this formation. It is clear that they need numbers in defence and attempting to play Aubameyang or Lacazette on the wing in order to accommodate this formation reduces their goal threat greatly. They have great chemistry together and with Özil playing behind them with little defensive responsibility, the 3-4-1-2 gives Arsenal an excellent attacking platform to be successful away from home.

4. Improve the Mentality of the Players​

Lucas Torreira

Currently, Arsenal seem to be mentally fragile away from home, seeming to struggle to deal with adversity when are not surrounded by their own fans. This was shown in recent away trips to ​Wolverhampton Wanderers and ​Leicester City. Against Wolves, Arsenal conceded ​in the 28th minute and then found themselves 3-0 down by half-time. 

They lost their composure after conceding the first goal and seem to have an inability to reset and settle themselves when things are not going their way. 

Against Leicester, Ainsley-Maitland Niles was sent off when the score was 0-0. The Arsenal players seemed to lose focus and looked more interested in venting their frustration towards the referee rather than organising themselves defensively. They proceeded to lose the game 3-0.

Opposition teams currently know that this Arsenal team struggles to deal with pressure away from home and this is something that Unai Emery must address through his coaching and/or the transfer market.

3. Get the Best Out of Mesut Özil

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Özil​ has a disappointing season, scoring just six goals and providing just three assists in all competitions.

Frequently he has been left out away from home, with Unai Emery preferring more energetic and pacy attacking options. 

Özil is a world class player when he is on-song, and Arsenal need his creativity and vision away from home to break down packed defences. Unai Emery must find a way to get the best out of his enigmatic number 10.

2. Relieve Burden of Goalscoring on Aubameyang and Lacazette


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are Arsenal’s two top goalscorers this season, with 25 and 19 goals respectively in all competitions. While they have been integral to Arsenal this season, there is an over-reliance on the pair to get the goals for the Gunners. 

Arsenal’s next highest goalscorer is ​Henrikh Mkhitaryan with six.

This is a large drop-off and highlights Arsenal’s need to get goals from other players. Away from home if Arsenal’s strikers are shackled, the Gunners seem toothless in attack. 

The likes of Özil, Mkhitaryan and ​Alex Iwobi need to improve and get in goalscoring positions when Aubameyang and Lacazette are tightly marked in games.

1. Sign a Top Quality Central Defender

Sokratis Papastathopoulos,Granit Xhaka,Laurent Koscielny

Arsenal’s defence has been their weakness for a while now, they had the eighth-best defence in the ​Premier League last season, while they have the 10th best defence in the Premier League in the current campaign. This is not good enough for a team that has ambitions of playing in the ​Champions League. 

Away from home their poor defence is tested more as teams are prepared to be bolder and more attacking in their game plan.

Unai Emery has attempted to improve Arsenal’s defence with the signing of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who has had a good debut season, and with the signings of defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira and goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Leno has arguably been Arsenal’s most consistent performer this season, but he has had a defence in front of him that is error-prone and weak.

Laurent Koscielny’s best days are behind him whilst Shkodran Mustafi seems to make a serious error in almost every game he plays in.

​Rob Holding was having a promising season before suffering a season-ending injury in December and Konstantinos Mavropanos looks to be a talented young defender. However, neither has the experience required to help this Arsenal side successfully repel attacks away from home.

Nacho Monreal has played as a centre-back in the last few seasons but does not look comfortable there and his lack of mobility has been exploited by opposition attackers. 

Although the Gunners will not have a large transfer budget in the summer, they will need to prioritise a quality central defender in the summer who will provide their back-line with the composure and leadership that is currently sorely lacking. Arsenal’s lack of funds mean that this will be easier said than done.


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