Arsenal: Is the honeymoon period over for the Gunners?

Jordan Nobbs of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Women's Champions League group C match between Arsenal WFC and FC Barcelona at Emirates Stadium on December 09, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

If you told any Arsenal fan before the start of the season the team would be top of the Women’s Super League and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, I’m not sure they would believe you.

But despite a blistering start to the season, the Gunners find themselves in a predicament.

Injury woes

With just one win in the last five matches, it’s fair to say that this slump does provide slight worry for Arsenal fans.

The last time the North Londoners played in the WSL, they were humbled by Birmingham City who won the match 2-0. Arsenal were then ejected from the Continental Cup at the hands of Manchester United.

However, injuries to key players such as Tobin Heath, Leah Williamson, and Lia Walti hit the team hard. The absences halted Arsenal’s offensive groove, causing the full-backs more work.

In the last five games, Arsenal have conceded 11 goals and scored five of their own. During this period, they looked far from convincing, yet still managed to maintain their lead in the WSL.

Arsenal also progressing in Europe, so it’s not all doom and gloom for the Gunners.

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Solid transfer window

Arsenal’s aggression in the January transfer window has been extremely impressive. The club recently announced the signing of Swedish superstar Stina Blackstenius, versatile defender Laura Wienroither, and experienced Brazilian international Rafaelle Souza.

These new additions show ambition and the understanding that the squad needed enforcement to achieve their long-term goals.

Return of Leah Williamson

The return of Williamson and Heath could be what Arsenal need to escape the turbulence after a torrid time.

The Gunners have missed missed Williamson’s presence. The Lioness is in top three among centre-backs p90 in progressive passes (8.99), progressive carries (8.56), and passes attempted (86.21).

A lack of creativity on the pitch stifled the Arsenal attack, putting more pressure on the front three to produce goalscoring opportunities.

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Fixture congestion and injuries go hand-in-hand, but should allow young players like Teyah Goldie the chance to show what she can do and discover her best position.

The absence of senior personnel is the perfect opportunity to grow youth talent.

At the moment, Arsenal have hit a downward spiral, but certainly have the firepower to resurrect their form. Is this a temporary blip, or is the impact of the Gunners slowly starting to fade?

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