serious complicated: Granit Xhaka’s sums up the biggest problem Mikel Arteta has to fix at Arsenal

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Like most of Arsenal’s game this season, the 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday lunchtime was a game of fine margins.

The Gunners took an early lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and looked to be in control of the match before Granit Xhaka’s misplaced pass inside his own penalty area bounced off Chris Wood’s hip to give Sean Dyche’s side an equaliser.

The Swiss international has already held his hands up and admitted his mistake in a post on his Instagram after the match.

“I hold my hands up for their goal and I’m sorry for the mistake,” he wrote. “That’s football and right now I feel just as frustrated as all of you.”

Xhaka has already come in for criticism following his mistake, and given the costly nature of the error in the context of the draw, it is perhaps hardly surprising.

But it is not as if the 28-year-old is the only individual to have made an error in the Arsenal squad this season.

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In fact if you look back over the Gunners past four away games in microcosm it’s easy to see where the biggest problem that faces Mikel Arteta’s side lies.

Against Wolves Bernd Leno’s moment of madness to reduce Arsenal to nine men heralded the beginning of a remarkable run of unforced errors that have made the club’s chances of qualifying for Europe next season through the Premier League near on impossible.

Then against Aston Villa, Cedric’s misplaced pass allowed Ollie Watkins to score the winner, while Xhaka’s misplaced pass against Leicester last week gave the Gunners a mountain to climb. This was the only error in this series that didn’t end up punishing them in terms of points.

Arsenal have ended up getting just four points from that run of fixtures, when arguably it should have been 12. Add those extra points on to their tally and they move from 10th to fifth and just one point off the top g after the match at Burnley, Mikel Arteta spoke for what felt like the 1000th time this season about the need to iron out these mistakes if the Gunners are ever going to fulfil their potential of being a top European side.

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“I’m disappointed with the result,” he said.

“But the reality is when you come here, which is a tough place to play, and you generate the chances that we created, don’t score enough, give a goal to the opponent and then don’t get the decisions that you should get it becomes difficult to win a game in the league.”

Earlier in the week he was asked how close the current incarnation of this Arsenal side was to the one he dreamt of when he took over at the Emirates in 2019.

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“Very far. Very, very far,” he replied.

“There’s still a lot to improve, a lot of quality to add. [We need to be] much more efficient in decision-making, much quicker to open situations up when advantages are there, many more situations to feel when advantages are obtained.

“More control of games, more defensive actions in the opponent’s half, fewer giveaways in our own half, more clean sheets. There’s a lot to do – more goals to score, more creativity. A lot to do.”

It’s clear that he is aware of the problems his side faces, but if they are going to get anywhere during his time as manager, then the first thing he most focus correcting is Arsenal’s continued tendency to snatch defeat from the


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