Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has three weak links confirmed after Slavia Prague draw

Arsenal: Arteta still confident of Europa League progress

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Arsenal weren’t at their best on Thursday night as they slumped to a disappointing 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final. The Gunners took the lead through Nicolas Pepe late on. But they were pegged back in the closing stages of the contest with Tomas Holes on target.

Arsenal went into Thursday’s game looking to take a giant step towards the Europa League semi-finals.

They looked to have won the contest through Pepe, with the Ivory Coast international on target in the 86th minute.

But, just seven minutes later, the visitors struck to secure a vital away goal and boost their own chances of making the next round.

It was a night where many Arsenal players disappointed, with their performance leaving much to be desired.

And the content also confirmed three of their biggest weak links at the current moment in time.

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Cedric Soares

Arsenal boss Arteta acknowledged before the match that left-back wasn’t Cedric’s best position.

“Cedric has played well. We know it’s not his preferred position but it’s a solution we had to find,” he said.

“Kieran [Tierney] will be out for a few weeks, I think, and he will be missed because he brings something unique to the team, but other players have to step in.”

And it showed.

The Portugal international looked uncomfortable, beaten on the counter down the wing numerous times throughout the game.

He looked erratic when it came to clearing his lines, too, and could now be targeted by opposition players going forward.


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Granit Xhaka

At times, Granit Xhaka can be brilliant. Certainly, he deserves credit for becoming a key player at Arsenal under Arteta.

But the Switzerland international still lacks the consistency his manager craves and, against Slavia Prague, was back to his infuriating self.

Xhaka was far too slow on the ball, allowing the away side to get men behind the ball and defend with diligence.

He wasn’t dominant when it came to recovering possession, either.

And while Xhaka deserves credit for saving his Arsenal career, it’s clear he’ll never be the world-beater the club thought they were getting when they signed him in 2016.


There have been some very questionable decisions in football over the last year.

But Arsenal really do deserve to be scrutinised for giving Willian a massive £200,000-a-week in wages – and on a three-year deal.

The Brazil international hit the post but, other than that, did precious little of note.

It was no surprise to see his number come up first, with Arteta visibly frustrated with the Samba star on the touchline of the Emirates Stadium.

And whether he has the mentality required to turn his Arsenal career around remains to be seen.

Arteta hits out

Speaking after the game, Arteta hit out at his side for defending too deep in the closing stages of the match.

“It is because the game is under control. We got the goal that we wanted,” he said.

“We missed some big, big chances as well, I must say, but then we played two or three balls in certain areas we should not do.

“We put ourselves on the back foot, we concede the corner and from there, they put a lot of bodies in there and anything can happen.

“Obviously it changes a lot of the feeling for after the game.”

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