Lack of goals, indiscipline and injuries – What is going wrong at Arsenal?

Arsenal sit just five points above the relegation zone after their poor Premier League form continued with Sunday's home defeat to lowly Burnley.

Mikel Arteta's struggling side are winless in five top-flight matches and have lost four successive league fixtures at Emirates Stadium.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at some of the key issues affecting the Gunners.

Lack of attacking threat

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right, has only scored two Premier League goals this season
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right, has only scored two Premier League goals this season (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Only the Clarets, West Brom and Sheffield United have scored fewer league goals than Arsenal this term. The Gunners have mustered just 10 in 12 fixtures, including only one in their last five winless games. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been in fine form ever since he moved to the club in January 2018 but he has only scored one penalty in his last 11 league outings, with Arsenal having 124 shots across their matches so far – the fifth lowest in the division.

Indiscipline

Granit Xhaka was sent off against Burnley
Granit Xhaka was sent off against Burnley (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Arsenal manager Arteta suggested Granit Xhaka's red card in the 1-0 defeat to Sean Dyche's side showed how committed his players are to addressing their slump. Switzerland midfielder Xhaka was dismissed for grabbing Ashley Westwood around the throat. While on-field passion can be a positive, it was the seventh time Arsenal have had a player sent off in the Premier League since Arteta was appointed almost a year ago and raises serious questions about the discipline among his underperforming squad.

Positional sense

Arteta is less than a week away from the first anniversary of his appointment. At the moment, there seems little reason to celebrate the occasion. When his predecessor Unai Emery was sacked, Arsenal were eighth in the table – the same position they ended the season under Arteta. The club are currently languishing in 15th place and require a swift upturn in results to ease pressure on their manager and ensure realistic hopes of European qualification are not extinguished prematurely.

Uncontrollable issues

Thomas Partey, left, is currently injured
Thomas Partey, left, is currently injured (Paul Childs/PA)

Arteta has had to contend with plenty of challenges in the opening year of his managerial career, including the coronavirus pandemic which kept fans away from Emirates Stadium until 2,000 were allowed to return last week. A number of injuries have also played their part of late, with the case of summer signing Thomas Partey highlighting their bad luck. The midfielder had missed just six matches throughout his entire career before joining Arsenal but has now sat out three of the last four games with a thigh injury.

Jury out on defence

Gabriel Magalhaes has impressed for Arsenal this season
Gabriel Magalhaes has impressed for Arsenal this season (Catherine Ivill/PA)

One of the priorities for Arteta when he replaced compatriot Emery was to address defensive frailties. With the savvy signing of Gabriel Magalhaes and a more structured approach to defending improving the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz, the former Gunners midfielder has – by and large – shored things up at the back. However, his team remain far from solid and have kept only three clean sheets this term, conceding eight times in their last five games.

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Everton's Mikel Arteta during a press conference at Goodison Park
Mikel Arteta, Paris Saint Germain
Rangers' Mikel Arteta tussles with Hibernian's Mathias Doumbe (left) for the ball during the Bank of Scotland Premier League match at Hibernian's Easter Road stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Celtic's Stiliyan Petrov (r) is closed down by Rangers' Mikel Arteta (l)
Peter Lovenkrands (centre) celebrates his goal with Mikel Arteta as Michael Mols runs in during the CIS Insurance Cup final match at Hampden Park, Glasgow.
(L-R) Rangers' Fernando Ricksen, Neil McCann, Ronald De Boer, Barry Ferguson and Mikel Arteta line up in a defensive wall
Dundee's Georgi Nemsadze tackles Mikel Arteta of Rangers during their Bank of Scotland Scottish Premier League match at Dens Park Stadium, Dundee.
L-R: Everton's Marcus Bent and Kevin Kilbane are shown the way forward by Mikel Arteta
Everton's Tim Cahill (c) is congratulated on scoring their second goal of the game by fellow goalscorer Mikel Arteta (l)
Arsenal's Patrick Vieira (right) in action against Everton's Mikel Arteta.
Manchester United's Roy Keane and Everton's Mikel Arteta
Everton's Mikel Arteta breaks passed Manchester City's Kiki Musampa, Albert Riera,
Everton's Andrew Johnson celebrates his goal with Mikel Arteta and Leon Osman
Everton's Mikel Arteta celebrates his goal in front of the fans as team mate Andrew Johnson runs behind
Everton's Mikel Arteta (c) celebrates scoring his and Everton's second goal with team mates
Everton's Ayegbeni Yakubu celebrates scoring the second goal of the game with Mikel Arteta
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (right) and Everton's Mikel Arteta battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.
Everton's Mikel Arteta celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game
Everton's Phil Neville (left) and Mikel Arteta (right) lift the Brotherhood Cup after victory over Everton Chile
Everton's Mikel Arteta celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.
Everton's Mikel Arteta scores the second goal of the game
General view of the big screen showing a picture of Everton's Mikel Arteta as his name is read out prior to kick off.
Everton's Mikel Arteta and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov sign autographs at Everton Two
Arsenal's Mikel Arteta celebrates scoring their second goal of the game
Manchester City's Mario Balotelli is brought down by Arsenal's Mikel Arteta
Arsenal's Mikel Arteta celebrates after scoring his side's first goal of the game
Everton's Marouane Fellaini (right) and Arsenal's Mikel Arteta battle for the ball
Arsenal players (from left) Mikel Arteta, Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny and Theo Walcott parade the FA Cup on an open top bus near the Emirates Stadium during the FA Cup winners parade in London.
Lukas Podolski, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal, lift the FA Cup Trophy
Arsenal's Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta (centre) lift the trophy on the Wembley balcony after victory in the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium, London.
Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (left) Mikel Arteta (centre) and Alexis Sanchez celebrate with the FA Community Shield trophy
Manchester City assistant coach Brian Kidd and Mikel Arteta during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City's Rodolfo Borrell, manager Pep Guardiola (centre) and Mikel Arteta celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Cup Final during the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (right) speaks to Mesut Ozil from the touchline during the Premier League match at The Emirates Stadium, London.
Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta speaks with Mesut Ozil and Nicolas Pepe on the touchline during the FA Cup third round match at Emirates Stadium, London.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaks to his players during the first half drinks break during the FA Cup quarter final match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (right) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrate with the trophy after winning the Heads Up FA Cup final match at Wembley Stadium, London.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta celebrates their victory with the FA Cup trophy during the Heads Up FA Cup final match at Wembley Stadium, London.
A general view of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta holding the trophy after the Heads Up FA Cup final match at Wembley Stadium, London.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during the UEFA Europa League Group B match at the Emirates Stadium, London.
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