Arteta: We have to overcome attacking issues

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Mikel Arteta says he’s pleased with the way his players have improved at the back but admits that Arsenal’s lack of goals and their struggles to create chances are problems that need to be fixed quickly.

Having struggled in the final third all season, the boss took affirmative action ahead of today’s clash with Leeds by switching captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a central position at the expense of Alex Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah.

While the decision was welcomed by fans, our subsequent failure to score, hindered by Nicolas Pepe’s second half red card, underlined the challenge facing the Spaniard.

According to Opta’s @Orbinho, today’s 0-0 draw at Elland Road means, “Arsenal are now four minutes shy of eight hours without a goal in the Premier League from open play”.

Moreover, he also points out that our tally of nine goals is the fewest we’ve scored after nine games of a top-flight season since 1986/87.

The stats are not pretty and if we don’t find a solution soon, we can write off any chances of finishing in the top four. Arteta knows it.

After the game, he reflected: “I think we’ve been working really good defensively.

“That flair, that creativity and that momentum that the players need to make the last action, it’s the most difficult thing in football.

“It’s not that you’re not creating the chances, but we have to create more and we have to be more consistent in the final third with the amount of things that we finish and how we finish them.

“But it will come, and the reality as well is that we haven’t had much continuity in a lot of the players for various reasons, which is very important to get the understanding right with them.”

He added: “It worries me obviously because we need goals and we need a lot of goals to win football matches and to be the top team that we want to be – without that it’s impossible.

“It doesn’t matter how good we are defensively. It’s not a lack of attacking players that we have, because we have attacking players on the pitch all the time, but we need some moments where we have to make decisions earlier, better and they have to be more ruthless.

“But it’s the most difficult thing in football and sometimes we go through these patches and we have to overcome them and I have to help the players to do it as quick as possible.”

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Biggles

Never a truer word spoken etc. Until/unless we fix this long-standing issue (from the second game of the season) we will fall further behind in the PL. I guess the main question is “How do you solve a problem like Auba?” because we’ve nobody else to fill that particular void at present. This is what we pay Arteta a small fortune to solve. Good luck to him.

goonerrah

I’ve watched most of Brighton’s games and I am always so impressed with their possession and attacking intent. They get unlucky or undone by set pieces/ counter attacks but if the players were better that could be fixed.

Arsenal are just boring and honestly shit to watch.

Futsboller

Huh?

Thessaloniki

He likes Brighton. I like them too. Their buildup is very good. Graham Potter is underrated with the work he’s done there. While we struggled to create anything v. Villa, their pattern of play moved Villa around with ease.

Futsboller

Right, but every game is different, so I never understand the comparative criticisms – they don’t make any sense. I see and feel the frustration, but we are rebuilding a team to compete at the top, not avoid relegation (despite appearances) as Potter is tasked to do.

Thessaloniki

Sure, every game is different but we can analyze approach to play in general. Not just an isolated match (although since I mentioned Villa, it does sound like recency bias). The threat of relegation makes Potter’s approach even more impressive, bottom teams tend to be play tight rather than expansive especially against top teams. He doesn’t. Admittedly from a sample size of 3 (Villa, Utd and Chelsea) that I’ve seen.

Futsboller

OK, you guys like Brighton and Potter. Cool. What does this have to do with Arsenal and the rebuild Arteta is tasked with, exactly?

Brighton moved Chelsea around, and lost; they moved United around, and lost; they moved Villa around, and won by a narrow margin (Villa were pouring it on at the end). Their approach to play has them in 16th.

Vaibhav Pandey

As far as approach go Brighton’s approach is top notch. They forced Grealish to be played through the middle than on the wings, WHY? because Lamptey had run riot on spaces left by Grealish because he didn’t track back. We could have done the same instead Grealish thrived on vacant spaces on our right and this has become a malaise from the start of the start of the season. You would see very little attacking from opposition from our left but we are overloaded from the right. Also our CMs/DMs are not tight enough in man marking rather when Xhaka/Ceballos… Read more »

Futsboller

But they’re in 16th? I get that people enjoy watching them, and I get that they can play some expansive football, but they’re not producing results that would turn any heads. Hence, the comparison is limited to “they had a better game against Villa than we did” — great, such comparisons can be made throughout the season in so many different directions, but they don’t yield much. Nobody is happy when we lose. We used to outplay teams by a wide margin, and still find a way to lose. We’ve lost our focus on controlling the midfield and followed the… Read more »

IncrediblArsenal

And we are in 12th! Despite the fact that they are expected to be in a relegation battle, they are scoring ~1.5 goals/PL game. We are scoring exactly 1. The reason they are 16th is probably due to the fact that they’ve conceded 15 goals (compared to our 10) Taking a glance at the league table, every team from 9th to the 20th has a -ve goal difference. But look at which teams have scored only single digit goals so far (GF < 10)! They are Wolves (playing vs S'hampton at this very moment), us, Burnley, Fulham, West Brom and… Read more »

gooner

Brighton don’t have too much talent on show however if you watch them closely, they create a lot of chances and space by playing the false pass. Almost everyone does it which opens up their game in attack.
The man on the ball almost always passes to the second option available and that’s how they solved their attacking/creative side considering they play a possession game.
We tend to pass it slow and to the obvious recipient and get forced backwards

Drey

I also noticed the false pass/second option with Brighton players. I get frustrated by it sometimes especially when they don’t come off cos it seems forced. Seeing it from your angle makes me appreciate it more…

Creative teams make harder risk for greater results

Obama Young

Zero goals from open play in the last 4 Premier League games. That is pathetic.

The Arsenal

Made worse when no team is particular great at defending anymore. Leeds have the worst defence in the leg but of course we rarely test their goal and give them a clean sheet,

Danny

We haven’t scored from open play since October 4th in the league. It’s not a drought. It’s a famine.

Goonerink

I think its simple enough, 3 problems.

  1. not enough movement on or off the ball.
  2. not playing enough triangles.
  3. Tempo and transistions are too slow

we play our striker/attackers like counter attackers, but fail to feed them quickly when the oppositions defence is high.

when they are sat deep and we probe there is no movement.

the only passes we do in the final 3rd are overlap passes or crosses into the box without a target man CF.

Gooneytoons

I’m with you, been thinking the same thing. We don’t play one touch football, it’s all about safety possession for the stats. Allthough Arteta riped that plan up somewhat today, we’re still very far away from a dangerous side.

GD10

Arteta doesnt like triangles.

He prefers hexagonal football.

But seriously, you’re points are spot on

GD10

*your

The Arsenal

When Xhaxa and Ceballos play these problems become tenfold.

Goonerink

I actually think they did their jobs pretty well today in this system though.
they made quite a few interceptions from auba pressing their keeper.

we missed partey or luiz for their longer passing range, though this might also have been handled better if willock got more involved.

The Arsenal

Its not that they don’t do their ‘jobs’ they are competent professionals…Just deeply limited footballers, especially for whats needed now.

Tanned arse

I think these players are tasked with doing very specific things depending on where the ball is and where we are in that moment (more than any other team). I think xhaka is very limited and probably benefits the clear role and instructions. Ceballos has far more to his game but is being disciplined and doing what he’s told. There’s plenty of craft there but little licence

The Arsenal

I don’t see what alot of people seem to see in Ceballos hopefully he can prove me wrong but I dont rate him at all.

Vaibhav Pandey

I agree with you, he isn’t top quality maybe Betis was better for him. He gives away a lot of balls, sometimes runs like Guendouzi and goes no where. Yesterday two CMs of Leeds marked both of our CMs very tightly and our CMs couldn’t get time to piss.

Cechmate

A lot of the above are associated with “defending as a team” like Man C does and nothing wrong with that, except we don’t have ball carriers and technically gifted players (probably why Manc are struggling too after David Silva leaving). We don’t have players that can receive the ball in tight spaces or with their back to the goal, turn and transition in quick time, hence a lot of sideways & backward passes. We didn’t replace the ball carriers adequately over the years – our real chances came in the game when Bellerin & Saka started running with the… Read more »

GD10

Attacking directly at pace just some of the time might help..

Too many times we go on a break and allow the oppo to get 10 men back

gooner

That’s what I’ve been drumming all season. When Bellerin run at them with pace twice they looked lost. Once in the second half to set up Saka for our best chance and the other time in the first half. Now the one in the first half got me done with Pepe even before his stupid red card. Hector makes the good run, passes to Pepe on the edge of the box and he just weakly stands on one foot to show that it’s played behind him or he just leaves it for Auba who is a fair distance away with… Read more »

Still love wenger

Leeds played like we used to do, pound a team for 90 mins, end up with a draw or a cheap goal conceded.
It is a sign of how much we have regressed.
We have to have patience, let’s give Arteta at least 3 transfer windows.
If he gets the attacking mid that he wants, who knows.

Leon

Sorry but no. Arsenal will be in the championship by the time he works it out. We need an experienced manager like Rodgers. Arteta, nice guy that he is simply does not have what Arsenal needs right now – strong leadership and tactical knowledge.

Ordnance Dave

So latter day Wenger, Emery and now Arteta don’t have tactical knowledge? Think we have to accept the “quality” of this squad.

Matthinc

This is madness.

Hank Scorpio

So he can find 3 more Willians?

Vaibhav Pandey

I would like if he can find few more Partey’s + Gabriel(in different positions offcourse). With the resources Arteta has he has done a good job. Amidst all of this we have forgotten how much shit KSE administration has caused and not to forget allowing corruption by don Raul being swept under the carpet. Club is a mess only because KSE doesn’t give a fuck, if they had been then Ivan the terrible would be out long before and Raul would be kicked out as soon as Pepe was signed!

Ambazonian Gunner

Of what good is it finding a “few more Partey´s + Gabriel” and then sprinkle little doses of Willian, Cedric and Mari all over them?

Possession

Hate to say it but we have become the laughing stock of London.
We’ll bounce back though !

GD10

Nah that’ll always be spurs!

Even if we sink into obscurity we would still a giant that fell away. They’ll always be the small club that never was a big club despite thinking they were.

The Arsenal

Except they are currently top. and we live in a world were past achievements mean less and less.

GD10

An aberration, itll never last.

And past achievements matter to the Individual. You live in a world you want to, just because others want to move ahead at 100mph doesnt mean you have to.

If past achievements mean nothing, what’s the point of competing today because tomorrow it means nothing anyway.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be competing better today mind!

What was the point?.. oh yeah, Spurs are small, and wank!

The Arsenal

I agree with the sentiment, but thats not the case or reality. Or Wenger would still be here.

Greg in Seattle

The notion that pedigree and history will somehow win out in football in 2020, that the cream-of-the-crop big clubs of yore will always rise to the top, is as antiquated as a caste system and an hereditary monarchy or the idea that no one ever lost money buying IBM stock. Times change. Arsenal is entitled to nothing that isn’t earned from the top of the club to the bottom, and right now Spurs are kicking our asses.

The Arsenal

Exactly that.

Vaibhav Pandey

I believe people here who had seen better AFC days in the past and would agree that like life football also moves in circles. You have to keep working and improving. Your chance will come eventually. In fact to experience what it means to win you should lose and lose ugly. Fight internally rip things apart but never allow that flame to run out! I was happy to see Tierney after the game, it felt like as if he would smash things up, he was angry and we need this anger to become better.

The Arsenal

Im actually empathising with Man united fans. For 20 years of my life Arsenal were at least top 5 to 10 football sides in the world. Even in Wengers barren years and weaker squads. Now were not. and there are too many factors that led us here to properly conflate it all.

Gooneytoons

Issues? eh?….more like a math library!

loose_cannon

It will go under the radar because of the Pepe red card and performance in general, but Aubameyang was actually super poor today. No hold up or link up play, no pressure off the ball. Not good enough to blame the quality of the players around him, he has to do more surely. Not sure what was up with him today. As for our attack in general, we actually ended the game with 33 percent possession. We were so passive off the ball, never putting them under real pressure or winning second balls. Fixing that will be half the problem… Read more »

Goonerink

i disagree, i think his first half with willian is what ruined his game today.

too many times he had to cover both his and willians zone on the pitch when pressing, he was dragged(along with pepe who did a little pressing) across the pitch which knackered him and split us open.

saka is great, but I feel the absence of willian helped also to allow auba more chances after half time.

gooner

“No hold up or link up play, no pressure off the ball” That’s what we saw from him when he played central earlier in his arsenal career. Time helps fans forget but we quickly restored Laca because Auba is good coming off the wing. The fantasy that we need him central is just a drowning man holding onto a strand of grass. In reality we need to swim and that’s addressing the speed at which we move the ball forward. The focus might just be on Auba in hope that he magically saves us but the whole front three and… Read more »

Chuffy

If results and performances dont improve by the end of December its curtains for Arteta. The FA Cup win last season just papers over the cracks in what has been a thoroughly poor league return from him. Dont forget he had half of last season and could only finish 8th and he crashed out of the Europa League at first round of knockouts. This season we’re 11th and have only scored 9 goals in 9 games, 3 of which were in the first game. That’s abysmal considering we have one of the best forwards in europe. His inexperience, freezing out… Read more »

Alex

Sad to say I do agree with this – partially at least – and Arteta needs a big change on his views. Goals will not “come.” They have to be prioritised and earned. We have to play with a (certain amount) of joy, freedom, fun (if you will) to be at our best.

I genuinely fear he will lose the dressing room and heads will fall as everybody works their arses off to give him what he wants, while we lose and they don’t have any moments of joy or self expression.

Henry

It’s impressed me when you could say this in such a cool manner. I was pissed off every time I thought about this. And it started again so I stopped here…

Cranky Colin

Good for Pepe…….. I’m glad he was pissed at the little bollix.
Bottom line here is, he will be back after 3 games, raring to go.
Just buy Willian a plane and put loads of fuel on it so it can go far far away……. further than Dubai for example.
Arteta will be learning….. he’s clever

Godfrey Twatsloch

Willian here, there or anywhere still costs us money for the rest of his very long contract.

Alex

Retirement. Not contract. Retirement. Thank you Gaspar and the Agent.

Greg in Seattle

I miss the days when someone like Willian would go to China for a massive payday at the end of his career. Now that place is Arsenal.

Homer

Total rubbish.
Dont be so dramatic.

Leon

If Arteta is so clever how comes he makes the same mistakes ? More importantly, how come we are only 11th in the league ? Not so clever after all then….

Longfellow

Calm down Sherlock

Naked Cygan

Credit to Arteta for Auba in the middle and playing Willock. We all asked for that he did it. Also credit to the for getting 1 point with 10 men. Other than that our tactics were absolutely bollocks. Not good enough. If I see Bellerin taking another foul trow I am going to break my tv. We are not playing like a premier league team. Very very boring and slow. Things need to change with the tactics and intensity.

Alex

“we need some moments where we have to make decisions earlier, better and they have to be more ruthless.”
You’ve got the guy for that, Mickey…

Qwaliteee

And he has ostracised him.

My sympathies for the manager are dwindling by the game…..

Nick

On a brighter note Martinelli is back in training and hopefully Partey will also be back soon. These two will give us much more going forward.

Greg in Seattle

And Elneny ticking the tempo quickly. We miss that to keep the opposing defense adjusting.

gooner

Fans forget very quickly. Martineli was involved regularly under Emery but had his playing time very greatly reduced when Arteta took over. Seemed to fancy Eddie over the Brazilian

It started with a training ground disagreement that Mikel had with Martinelli over a bust-up with another player.

I think Arteta needs to decide quickly if his man management style is going to be that of a disciplinarian or utilitarian. He’s mixing the two and doing it badly.

IncrediblArsenal

On a related note, is our best creator being sanctioned/punished for the recent training ground incident?
To be clear, I’m asking about Luiz.

Viju Jacob

Really no? You need to become a manager of a bid club to start with. 9 games into a new season and you are still shite.

Viju Jacob

Geez, so many typos!

Really now? You need to become a manager of a big club to start with. 9 games into a new season and you are still shite.

Dibz

We are all avoiding one major issue: Ozil!!

Man Manny

How Ozil couldn’t make this team based on footballing issues is beyond me.
Arteta has a lot of explaining to do.

A P

But tough if one is playing with a striker like Laca. The creator can have five key passes a game without any assists.

Hank Scorpio

He’s got to be feeling good about things right now. I’d be turning up to training beaming if it was me. Seriously though, there’s no way he’ll play for Arsenal again. Too much has been said and egos won’t allow for this to be revisited. No matter how dire things become.

Qwaliteee

What if we get to January and have lost another two or three games? Something the players – under this ‘system ‘ or ‘process’ – are more than capable of.

NB: For the first time since the days of Hoddle, Ardiles, Villa, Crooks and Archibald (1982) I am genuinely dreading a NLD.

IncrediblArsenal

Considering some of the games coming up in Dec. (and what remains of Nov), I’ll take two defeats in a heartbeat (and fast-forward to Jan). Unless we draw most of the other games, it’s quite likely we’d get very close to the top 6.
However, all of this is wishful thinking at the moment.

Hank Scorpio

Arteta would rather buy or loan someone than face eating humble pie

Qwaliteee

Which means he would be putting his own interests ahead of the interests of the club.

Make of that what you will…

Kinghenrythe14th

Excuses, excuses. On paper we have a better squad of players than at least 14 teams yet we are scared of any team we come up against. Agreed our defensive organization is way better than we used to have but this brand of hoof ball we play is tiresome to watch. We can’t string 5 passes together, we can’t open up a massed defense, we can’t counter teams like before. It seems our tactics now is park the bus, hope we can squeeze out a chance and pray we convert. Wish we could have Arsene directing the attacking play while… Read more »

Homer

Arsenal were scoring goals – before you took over, Mikel Arteta.

Confused

We played like a championship team tonight and stood back and allowed them to hit the woodworks 3 or 4 times and were ponderous to the point of exasperating this long-suffering supporter…we are now officially a mid-table team…pains me to say it..,

Danny

If only we had a creative midfielder.

Hank Scorpio

It’s a real shame that we don’t have one in our Premier League or Europa League squads….

DaDude

True,. Had we had gotten rid of Özil and his salary early enough, we could have afforded, bought and registered one in time for the deadlines. I guess.

GHunner

Funny how our best spell was when we were a man down…
He has made us effective when playing counter attacking football – backs ageinst the wall stuff. Now if only he can get them to be more attack-minded and expressive.

Alex

I don’t believe it’s in him. Worrying and scoring goals is a bad combination. I just feel like Arteta values security over goals but football is all about scoring goals, hence goal scorers are the best paid.

The worst thing is I feel like we have a really decent amount of attacking talent and young exciting options that we are wasting because they’re all forced to play from edge of their own penalty box as soon as we lose the ball.

They have to be let off the leash to express themselves

Dubai Ham

Arteta Out. I feel for him. He doesn’t know how to fix it. He keeps saying the right stuff but his actions say otherwise. Willian again starting despite being utter rubbish. Five the kids a chance. They can’t be worse.

Dubai Ham

Five = Give

bob

Oh fuck off with this Arteta out shit, at least give (or five, your choice) him an actual season before you sharpen your pitchfork! We won a trophy last season because of him, or have you already forgotten? Give him a season to try things and improve. Constantly chopping and changing things will get us nowhere.

IncrediblArsenal

Really? Is winning a trophy (which does not have “League” in it) now suddenly worth persisting with a manager? I cannot claim to have any information on how the ‘higher-ups’ of Arsenal think, but I would say it’s a fair bet that qualifying for at least the Europa one way or the other is the least expected of Arteta. Anyhow, I actually just thought of another way to better convey my opinion (and also guage the sentiment of other Arsenal fans). Would you have said the same thing for another manager who didn’t quite become a fan favorite (unfortunately Emery… Read more »

Man Manny

I watch Emery’s Villareal almost weekly; they play a lot better than Arteta’s Arsenal.
This is a very depressing time to be an Arsenal fan.
Ziyech did everything to become an Arsenal player bar offer himself for free.
What a signing he would have been?

Qwaliteee

Less of the ‘We.’ It’s down to YOU, Arteta. These players are being played out of position, then benched, then played again in all sorts of hit and hope formations – at what point does this ‘process’ – whatever the fuck that is – kick in…….? At the moment, you’re micro-managing a collection of uninspired players steadily down the table. Players who, game by game, are producing an excruciatingly dull, uninventive, directionless crock of shite – and it’s being duly reflected in our league position. Four games without a single goal from open play; not good enough. Never mind the… Read more »

Obama Young

Last 5 Premier League matches: 1 goal scored, on a penalty. Zero from open play.  The last goal Arsenal scored from open play was on October 4 against Sheffield United. We’re closing in on 500 minutes without an open play goal in the league, over 200 and counting without scoring. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has more goals scored this season than Arsenal.  Ollie Watkins has scored 2 more goals than the Arsenal squad in the past 2 games– and he scored them both against Arsenal.  Danny Ings got injured on November 1 but he still has as many goals in the league… Read more »

heihaci

poundland Gaurdiola talks a good talk but he out of his depth!

Qwaliteee

‘Poundland Guardiola.’

That’s cruel, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me chuckle. 🤣

Santori

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2020/nov/22/cycle-of-impatience-and-change-leaves-arsenal-still-searching-for-an-identity Poignant article above. Wake up call for arsenal fans still deluded into thinking we have some sort of genius coach. Sure he needs time but we aren’t going anywhere quick anyway. If this continues I think the renewal momentum will be lost. As article mentions lack identity and fluency playing like strangers with little coherence or intuition. Part of this is the way the team is being set up to be now overly rigid , partially bc we have not bought wisely neglecting to add critical element of experience in transfer team where it counts. Partly as well bc… Read more »

Sleepy Bo

One word: Ozil

Qwaliteee

The elephant in the room….

edzo

Football is not that complicated. We can’t score. Why is this? Because we have no creative midfielders and our wingers are terrible (depending upon where Auba plays) and lacca is not good enough. Play auba up the middle but then you need a word class creative mid and two excellent wingers. not pepe or willian. Play auba on the left then you need a creative mid a striker (not lacca) and wingers who are not Pepe or Willian. Saka can play on the wing. But until the mid, a top striker and top winger come we will have trouble scoring.… Read more »

Francesc

We were better after the red card. Not sure what to make of that.

2highbury

This man’s days are numbered

Eddy F

Time for Nelson to get a chance. Pepe is too inconsistent for the PL. Willian provides nothing to the team. Can’t be any worse, and is still young so could turn into something special.

IncrediblArsenal

No shit, Sherlock!

zvirevo

The problem is self infliction, we are in denial, our strickers get balls with their backs to the goal , and they not aggressive enough. Swallow our pride, bring Ozil to supply killer passes. Even without red card, the result I doubt was going to be different, we need a #10

Qwaliteee

That’s just the point.

Game by game now, the blatant omission of Ozil is now becoming a fucking great elephant in the room.

If we lose another two or three games between now and January, then Arteta will have no option but to swallow his pride and reinstate him. If he doesn’t we really could be in serious trouble come next May.

By then, it may be a case of damage limitation – simply making sure that we don’t end up in a relegation battle.

loonygoonerbloke

Improved defence? 3 from Villa, 25 shots from Leeds, can’t use the goal frame as part of our defence, we stalled, will we crash n burn?