Arsenal were considered potential challengers for this season’s Premier League title barely a fortnight ago.
Now, the Gunners’ 22-match unbeaten run from the third weekend of the campaign until mid-December almost counts for nothing.
Since losing 3-2 to Southampton on December 16, Unai Emery has since watched his men struggle to take three points from Burnley at home and then be held to a draw by Brighton.
However, as bad it’s been of late, the Spaniard can’t have been prepared for the mauling that would transpire during their trip to Liverpool.
The Anfield crowd were treated to a 5-1 victory as they extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to nine points, much to the humiliation of Arsenal.
Emery’s side actually made the perfect start on Merseyside courtesy of Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ first goal for the club, but the celebrations were short-lived at best.
Three minutes later, the stunning front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino went to work.
The Brazilian broke through the visitors’ hapless defence twice in 120 seconds before his Senegalese colleague followed suit with a goal of his own.
From leading Liverpool in their own backyard to being 3-1 down within half an hour, Arsenal couldn’t even prevent Salah from grabbing a fourth from the penalty spot prior to the break.
It got even worse 20 minutes into the second period, though, as Firmino sealed his hat-trick from 12 yards after Saed Kolasinac fouled Dejan Lovren in the area.
So, it wasn’t the best of days at the office for Emery and his defence.
In fact, the Sun has shed light on a damning statistic that should gravely concern the Emirates faithful.
Liverpool’s five goals mean Arsenal have shipped 30 in 20 Premier League matches, which looks even worse in a historical context than it does at face value.
It means Emery’s team have now conceded more goals at this stage of the campaign than any managed by Arsene Wenger.
Given his fragile defence was a common source of criticism during the latter stages of the Frenchman’s 22-year reign, it has to be playing on the current boss’ mind.
The Gunners have kept a mere eight clean sheets in all competitions under Emery - and the calibre of their opposition to date isn’t an excuse.
They copped three against Burnley last weekend, the same amount at Southampton in their first defeat of the season, and even two versus Cardiff back in September.
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