Goals and assists from central midfield have been in short supply for Arsenal this season.

It’s perhaps timely then that Dani Ceballos popped up with an FA Cup winner from that position on Sunday, days after Joe Willock scored to seal the 2-0 win over Southampton in the Premier League.

It’s an area of the pitch Mikel Arteta knows well, of course, having fashioned his career in the engine room, and between now and the end of the season, the Arsenal boss is looking for more from the players in those positions.

Asked if a good final league position will depend on midfield providing more goal involvements, he said, “Absolutely. If we talk about playing with two attacking midfielders, even more.

“They have to be a threat, constantly threatening the box and the final third, assisting, getting chances to score … it’s one of the big jobs they have.”

In recent games a back three has seen a slight shift in the set-up, with the manager keen to set up his side in a way which maximises its attacking threat in relation to the opposition’s system.

“We’ve found a balance in relation to how the opponent plays, how we believe we can hurt them, to make it difficult.

“How we can find the balance for us to attack better, and to control transitions better as well.

“It depends on the players we have available. At the end of the day we have to put the players in the right positions, where they are better and feel more confident.

“Sometimes it be with five, sometimes with four, with the diamond, it depends.”

Arsenal Premier League goals from midfield

Lucas Torreira – 1
Joe Willock – 1
Mesut Ozil – 1

Arsenal Premier League assists from midfield

Dani Ceballos – 2
Mesut Ozil – 2
Lucas Torreira – 1
Granit Xhaka – 1
Matteo Guendouzi – 1

Definitely some room for improvement there. Let’s hope we see a bit tomorrow evening against Norwich.

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goongot

I am glad arteta is aware of this problem. I was not certain if we would add some1 in attacking mid-field in the upcoming transfer window but this gives me hope.

Dial square

*cough* Aaron Ramsey

Bai Blagoi

You fool, are you challenging the eternal wisdom of Master Raul?

Bai Blagoi

I think we are receiving enough threats because of the midfield already 🙂

RuminatingGoons

Torreira will add some security and slickness in midfield.

MrSyme

An attacking midfielder should be the priority, if we sign anyone, ahead of central midfield and definitely ahead of central defence. Who do we have now apart from Ozil, just Smith-Rowe? Willock has played there but reminds me a bit too much of Ramsey – dynamic but not a good enough passer for that position and doesn’t link up players well. I’d like to see Lacazette given a go (can hold it up, lay it off / pass in tight spaces, lead a high press, could combine with Aubameyang without him being shunted wide etc) but I doubt we’ll that… Read more »

Pescetarian

Yes, Bouldy alluded to that a while back and I’ve wanted to see that experimented with ever since.

db10s

For me it doesn’t have to be an “attacking” midfielder but a good box to box player, someone with more power and mobility.
 
We have this problem with mobility, the midfield is either too deep which leaves our forwards too isolated or the midfield is too far forward which exposes our backline all the time.
 
In Arsenal terms, Xhaka is a Petit and Torriera is a Gilberto. They have no Vieira to complement either of them.

Artetas Assistant

AMN is the closest to a Gilberto we have. Willock is the closest to a Viera

Qwaliteee

“Willock is the closest to a Vieira.” Stop it mate. I’ve spat my tea out everywhere…..😆

Artetas Assistant

Potentially. He doesn’t have the steel of Viera though by nurture

Mols

Willock isn’t there yet, but the driving runs into the box and late arrivals Ramsey gave us are something we could really use. Without those overloads we’re too easy to mark.
 
Ceballos gave us an example of a goal from driving in, and Willock has made us more penetrative at times. But he definitely needs to add something in the middle of the park that’s not quite there yet- passing, control, tempo.

db10s

In addition to passing, control, tempo I would add off the ball positioning. He does alot of running off the ball but it doesn’t result in anything productive. Barely any interceptions, forcing opponents into mistakes, cutting out passing lanes etc. The majority of our midfield has the same issues also.

ComeToSeeEboooue

18 months ago I’d agree with you about Lacazette but his hold up play has been awful recently, just seems to bounce off him and gets the ball taken away too easily now. Wish we had Giroud up there sometimes!

Niall

Don’t disagree with him. We didn’t properly replace Aaron Ramsey when he left and he bagged at least 10 goals from midfield.
 
The interesting part now is who will Arteta go after to be our new goal scoring midfielder

loose_cannon

Given that we need to strengthen other areas of the team as well, I wonder if Arteta will look at that old Wengerism; “internal solutions”. Willock and Smith-Rowe are our nominal up and coming CAMs but I wonder if Arteta sees Saka in the middle in the long run as well.   Left of centre midfield against Brighton he was our best player on the day (not saying much admittedly) and his power, pace, bravery and range of passing are reminiscent of Ox when he got to play in the middle. He’s good on both feet, and can overlap and… Read more »

canadrian

Another Wengerism: Buying a CAM would “kill” Willock and Smith-Rowe.
 

T.A.

Last week I watched a couple of League 2 matches and was extremely impressed with the talent and energy on display. Midfield and Defense were especially notable for some truly exciting players. I know I must be a bit old-fashioned but why have Arsenal given up on scouting the lower leagues for talent? Last time we did this was during George Graham’s time.

Ya gooner

League 1 and 2 are at a really high standard these days but when you see teams there play any of the premier league teams it’s usually a weakened prem team for a start and they usually win. It just goes to show how high a standard the premier league is. It’s crazy, and although the gap has closed between skill it’s still pretty big. You have to be a football great to be an average top flight player and a football genius to be a great one.

Ya gooner

However you’re right the talent is there and it would be nice if we could tap into it. I think even still the lack of funding in grass roots means we have less of a talent pool than other countries overall. It’s such a shame but it’s just another reflection of our society’s top heaviness.

OsloGooner

The last player we had that scored a lot of goals from midfield is Fabregas and that’s 10 years ago.. Auba, Martinelli and Nketiah can’t do it all on their own.
 
I want a player like Fekir, Havertz, Aouar.. they have skills, flair, determination and most of all they will score you goals or create assists.
 
Even a Viera-type player who can come from deep in midfield and get on the scoresheet.
 
 
 
 

loose_cannon

What about Welsh Jesus?

OsloGooner

True, I just forgot about him. I’m still furious we let him go. We pay, 350k for Özil but we let Ramsey go for free… I remember when I complained about Wenger and “just” getting top 4. I would take it back in a heartbeat.

loose_cannon

Top 4 being a trophy, gods those were the days!

OsloGooner

It’s better than being stuck in 10 place tho. Wenger and CL made players want to sign for us.
 
 
But maybe in 6 or 7 years will be back..

Bam

As a Gunner, I’m glad to understand that Arteta voiced this out. This problem has been with Arsenal since Cazorla got injured and eventually left. There has been no creativity in the midfield. I am happy that Arsenal are trying to buy Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid. However, Arsenal should go all out to buy Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. Jack is a great creative midfielder and should be bought to replace the lazy Mesut Ozil.

Marco

Just putting it out there. Santiago Cazorla still pulling the strings for Villarreal.How did we let this happen.

Qwaliteee

Ozil is sat on his arse playing Angry Birds. How did we let THAT happen….

Cowadunga

I don’t think he meant more players in the attacking midfield position as much as central midfielders participating more offensively.

Qwaliteee

Erm…….Mesut Ozil?

Qwaliteee

Dear Mikel. Torreira and Ozil. Hint, hint. 😉

The Arsenal

Midfield does nothing at either end. Not for lack of effort.