Arsenal players must take responsibility ahead of season-defining week

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Arsenal crashed to a 3-1 defeat in Rennes on Thursday night and now the team face a season defining week.

Unai Emery will be feeling the heat after Sokratis’ red card triggered an Arsenal collapse in France and with that, a continued terrible away record.

There is a clear mentality problem in the squad, highlighted by recent ill-discipline and terrible form on the road and it needs to change quickly as the club host Manchester United and Rennes in the next 7 days in what will be crucial fixtures.

Despite some clear positives from the match against Spurs, and a good start against Rennes, Arsenal cannot afford to mentally drop off when things don’t go their way in games, as it is inevitable that this will happen at some stage.

Many were quick to point the finger at Emery in the aftermath of the 3-1 defeat on Thursday, but it was the players who again let the manager down, with Sokratis poorly managing the game in the hostile environment.

Then it was Nacho Monreal, one of the clubs most experienced and reliable players, who was at fault for leaving Ismalia Sarr unmarked to score what may well turn out to be, the decisive goal in this fixture.

In the next two matches, the players have to take some responsibility and perform at the highest level, otherwise there will quite rightly be a massive cull in the summer as the club must look to flush out the current culture that sees this club fall short when it matters so often.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the clubs top scorer, has been extremely poor in the last two games, missing an important penalty at Wembley and then barely touching the ball in his outing in the Europa League. He looked angry when he was subbed, but it is only himself that he should be angry at.

To have any chance of beating Manchester United and advancing in the Europa League, the first hurdle the club need to conquer is keeping 11-men on the field. The red card for Sokratis was the clubs third in recent weeks, with Lucas Torreira and Alexandre Lacazette receiving straight reds against Tottenham and BATE Borisov respectively.

The big advantage the club have for these two upcoming fixtures is that they are at home and under both Emery and Wenger in recent years, the team have been very strong at The Emirates. With a passionate fan base eager for success, there will be a lot of emotion in the ground for the next two games.  

Arsenal are likely to dominate possession against both Manchester United and Rennes, but the results will be decided by how clinical the team can be at both ends of the pitch.

Due to suspension, Sokratis and Lacazette will miss the return leg against Rennes, whilst Torreira will not be able to play against Manchester United.

This piles the pressure on the likes of Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Skhodran Mustafi – time to earn your money.

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