Arsenal’s Grit Commendable But Where Are The Goals?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Abdoulaye Doucoure of Everton and Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Arsenal FC at Goodison Park on September 17, 2023 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Going by Arsenal’s performance last season, the Gunners are having an indifferent start this season. They have at times impressed, and at times left a lot to be desired.

One fact remains though, they aren’t as fluid as they were last season especially in attack. It shows in the fact that while they are among the remaining four unbeaten sides after five games, Arsenal are the lowest scorers in the top four.

It also follows that they have the lowest goal difference in the top four. After their near miss in the title race last season, Arsenal were expected to build on it but with that came several changes, including key departures and the need to keep a squad fresh enough to feature in the UEFA Champions League as well.

However, while the Gunners have improved in their ability to fight out and see off games, they aren’t scoring with the fluidity seen last season.

This perhaps would explain why one of their leading scorers last season, Gabriel Martinelli, is yet to score after starting all five matches so far.

Deserved credit

We should however not deny Mikel Arteta’s side the credit it deserves. The Gunners have scored in each of their five matches so far, and even defeated Manchester City, albeit on post-match penalties, in the Community Shield.

While they have four wins in five matches in the league, most of them haven’t come easily; they had to dig deep.

This fighting spirit is a new angle to their game that was seriously lacking in previous seasons. In SportyTrader’s weekend free accurate football predictions you can bet on mostly finding tips on Arsenal to score but their side of the game that had free-scoring attributes is no longer there.

The two clean sheets they have posted so far were as a result of holding off opponents, at Crystal Palace and Everton recently.

They had to do it with 10 men after Takehiro Tomiyasu’s red card at Palace, to defend Martin Odegaard’s solo strike through a penalty.

At Everton, though the pressure wasn’t as much as at Palace, the Gunners also held on.

Hold up

It will be interesting to see how the Gunners hold up against teams like Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspurs, Brighton and Liverpool.

Sometimes Arsenal are caught out and are passive, especially when with Kai Havertz on the pitch and this will be punished ruthlessly by the stated teams if they get the chance.

In such circumstances Mikel Arteta’s side has been found culpable of rash clearances or giving up possession in dangerous areas.

A case in point will be Nottingham Forest’s counter attack that saw them scored in the 2-1 win at the Emirates.

An evolving feature with Arsenal’s game is how easily they can go into a deep block to close out games.

The arrival of Declan Rice, one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, has developed this as a strategy and now the Gunners can afford to breathe easy even when Thomas Partey is out injured.

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