There were few positives for Arsenal to take from their weekend defeat to Everton, but Aaron Ramsey returning to action was certainly one.
Coming off the bench at Goodison Park, the Arsenal team was far from the confident one it was when he last featured on Boxing Day, and is still missing several other key individuals.
The Welshman told Arsenal.com that the Gunners have to 'pick themselves up' for their FA Cup semi-final, but not before discussing the sides' tactical weakness.
"It was a massive game - there was a lot riding on it but we conceded some sloppy goals. We were quite vulnerable on the counter-attack and they exploited the opportunities."
In fact this is becoming a little of a worrying trend for Arsenal. Conceding goals on the counter attack was a feature of their heavy defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea earlier this season.
Statistics show that of the five goals Arsenal have conceded from fast breaks this season, four have come during the past 10 games. A worrying trend.
|Team||Opp Goal Fastbreak||Played|
|West Ham United||2||10|
Below are statistics for the entire campaign, comparing Arsenal with the rest of the top four, plus Everton, hot on their tails:
|Team||Opp Goal Fastbreak||Mins||Played|
Arsenal have conceded more goals on the break than the rest of their rivals combined, while Tottenham and Manchester United have also allowed just one each.
It emphasises the real need Arsenal have for a quality defensive midfielder who can play every week, but perhaps also highlights how Arsenal have been exposed without Ramsey.
Ramsey led the league in tackles per game prior to his injury, and it's no coincidence the 10 week period in which Arsenal have conceded 80% of their goals on the break have been without the Welshman.
Now the midfielder is back, but if Arsenal place their entire faith in him to stop the trend next season, they will be risking exactly the same happening again.