Mikel Arteta must solve growing Arsenal problem ahead of Premier League opener

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Mikel Arteta must find the solution to a growing problem at Arsenal – or risk another calamitous season in the Premier League.

It was prevalent when the Gunners drew to Rangers in their second pre-season friendly of the summer in a 2-2 draw.

Despite fielding a strong side, the north London outfit failed to get the win – following up their shock defeat to Hibernian earlier in the week.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey all started as the Gunners toiled with Rangers taking the lead through Leon Balogun.

And it must have been a case of deja vu for Arsenal fans – who are getting used to watching their side miserably try and defend set-pieces.

Arsenal could only manage a 2-2 draw against Rangers
(Image: Richard Lee/REX/Shutterstock)

Rangers star Balogun opened the scoring after just 14 minutes when he nodded home from James Tavernier's corner.

But the defending was absolutely nowhere to be seen and, despite it being a great cross, it should have been dealt with.

It is a growing problem for Arsenal, who suffered from a similar defensive error against Hibs in their 2-1 loss on Tuesday.

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And teams in the Premier League must be licking their lips at the prospect of facing the north London side.

The likes of Burnley, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Southampton who thrive off set-pieces will ramp up their efforts even more so.

After finishing eighth in the Premier League last season, the Gunners cannot afford another campaign out of Europe.

Arsenal have struggled to defend from set-pieces
(Image: Getty Images)

It means Arteta must find a solution or face another year of trouble – one he might not be able to survive with fans back in stadiums.

Earlier this month, the Spaniard has tried to do exactly that after hiring Manchester City coach Nicolas Jover.

The former Brentford staff member has been tasked with improving Arsenal's defending from set-pieces having fulfilled the same role under Pep Guardiola.

Of course, Jover will need some time before his methods start to see any results but the fact that he has been appointed shows that Arteta clearly knows his weaknesses.

After the 2-2 draw against Rangers, the Arsenal coach said: "I'm really pleased with the performance.

"I think we dominated the game, we created so many chances – I counted about eight or 10 clear chances to score.

"But this game is decided in both boxes. We were not clinical in the opponent's box and we conceded two goals from two corners, which were the only chances they had apart from the counter-attack from our own corner.

"So much better from the other day and you tell that physically we were already better in the second game, the organisation was better, individually they played better, but I really liked the collective understanding of the game and how we executed a lot of things we have been working on in the training pitch."

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