Kieran Tierney said Arsenal “deserved” to be booed off after being stunned at home by Burnley, so just how bad is the situation for the Gunners right now?
The 1-0 loss, courtesy of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s own goal, leaves the north London side 15th in the table and on a run of seven defeats in their last 10 league games.
A number of the 2,000 fans inside the Emirates Stadium made their displeasure clear after the game.
“We are not showing the manager what we can do and how much we believe in him,” said Scotland international Tierney.
“Every game there are signs we are doing a bit better but it is still not good enough.
“Hard work is the only thing [that can fix this], nothing else for it. There are no excuses. There is nothing I can say that will make people believe a positive thing is going to come out of this.”
Tierney isn’t wrong. If you are an Arsenal supporter, the statistics make for grim reading:
- Defeat means Arsenal have now lost four straight league games at home for the first time in 61 years.
- The Gunners have gone 12 hours and 32 top-flight minutes without finding the net from open play.
- With four wins and a draw after 12 games, this is their worst start to a top-flight season since 1974-75, when they had won two and drawn three.
- Their tally of 10 goals after 12 Premier League games is their lowest at this stage of a top-flight season since 1981-82, when they had eight.
- Arsenal have received six Premier League red cards since Mikel Arteta took charge last December, double that of any other side in the same timeframe.
The latest act of ill-discipline cost them dearly against Burnley.
Sunday’s red card was shown to Granit Xhaka for grabbing the throat of Clarets midfielder Ashley Westwood just short of the hour mark, with the visitors grabbing the winner 15 minutes later.
It was the second time this season an Arsenal player has been sent off for violent conduct following £72m club-record signing Nicolas Pepe’s red card for a headbutt in the draw against Leeds last month.
The hosts were lucky not to receive a second red of the game when Mohamed Elneny raised his arm up to James Tarkowski’s face at a corner, for which the Egyptian was given a yellow.
Asked if Xhaka’s dismissal was unacceptable, Arteta told BBC Sport: “Yes. In my opinion it is too much willingness to do well, to compete to do everything.
“We took it to the wrong side of it, when you step over the line you will get punished.”
It does not get any easier for Arsenal, who host in-form Southampton at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Asked where the performance against Burnley leaves his side, the Spaniard replied: “In a worse position.
“When you have this type of performance you have to win matches, you have to win as simple as that. It puts us in a difficult position and we have to try again on Wednesday.
“I am clear in my mind what needs to improve. I don’t know how to put the ball into the net.”
Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “If I’m an Arsenal fan listening to that Mikel Arteta interview, I’m getting concerned about the manager.
“He said he was delighted with the attitude, he had one player quite rightly sent off and Mohamed Elneny should have gone as well.
“He said they played well, he said they were too willing. I may be wrong but I didn’t see that. I think he has got that wrong.”
Former Arsenal defender Alex Scott added on MOTD2: “First of all the tackle from Granit Xhaka, you don’t need to do that in that area of the pitch. Then the reaction – you’re letting your team mates down, the fans down. It totally changed the game. With VAR you cannot do this.
“It’s that red mist, it’s about having that control and knowing you can’t do that and, the position we’re in, my team need me.
“When you look at today’s game, who’s the star for Arsenal? It’s the young left-back Kieran Tierney. I’m so disappointed in Willian, the amount of times I saw him pass the ball and not even move.”