Home and Away - A tale of two Arsenal's

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Arsenal have struggled all season to balance their best attacking play with a tight defence at home, but on the road they have the best defence in the league.

For all the criticism and predictions of a major shift in power in North London, Arsenal look well set to claim a top four place for another year in the Premier League, with the Gunners the most on form team in the Premier League over the past ten games.

However throughout their whole season, Arsene Wenger has found it difficult to marry his team's best attacking play with defensive solidity, and their home and away goal records demonstrate this fact neatly.

No side has scored more goals at home than Arsenal, with their 43 goal tally matched only by the champions Manchester United. A few notable thrashings like the seven goal haul against Newcastle have bolstered this, but Arsenal have rarely struggled to score at home this season.

At the same time, the 22 goals they have conceded at home is the second worst defensive record in the top ten, with only Swansea letting in more. Even Norwich and Sunderland have conceded fewer goals at home than Arsenal, which could lead to suggestions that their defenders are simply not up to the job.

This could be argued if Arsenal had been equally porous away from home, but in fact they have comfortably the best defensive record on the road in the league, conceding five fewer goals than any other side.

However when away from the Emirates, their goal-scoring ability drops considerably. Arsenal's total of 23 goals is not awful, indeed Manchester City have also only scored 23 away from home, but it is considerably fewer than Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool's tally on the road.

What does this mean for Arsenal? Well clearly they have the players to be both successful going forward and at the back, but what they lack is the ability to put it all together. The implication is that they do not have the forwards capable of succeeding in a defensive side, and also a defence only able to produce their best when the whole team sets up to keep things tight.

Once again this could come back to the lack of a top class striker and a defensive midfielder in their squad, with the back four left unguarded when their midfield steps up to support a front line that is unable to fashion enough chances by itself. A couple of wise additions this summer could be enough to turn this squad into a side able to challenge for the top honours domestically, as their goal records this season show they are not far off being an excellent side.

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