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.
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.”