Mikel Arteta says Arsenal should be scoring more goals and revealed his players have been focusing on improving their attacking threat in recent training sessions.
The Gunners have earned plaudits for having the tightest defence in the Premier League this season – quite right too when you consider the mess we were in this time last year – but it seems to have come at the expense of our prowess in the final third.
As things stand we’ve only hit the back of the net in the league on nine occasions – a tally matched or bettered by 14 other sides – and have taken just 60 shots, three more than Crystal Palace who have the worst record in the top flight.
After watching his side help themselves to four goals against Norwegian side Molde, two of which were own goals, the boss was asked if he thinks his side need to score more.
“Yes, I do,” he replied. “To get that balance right is not easy considering the fixtures we have played this season. In the beginning playing Liverpool three times, playing Manchester City, playing Leicester – it’s not easy.
“It’s something that we’ve been working on in the last two weeks. You can see last night that we were much more fluent in attack, we scored the goals, we created more opportunities.
“It’s a part that the team still has to evolve more because we still haven’t played many games against many low blocks as well so it’s something that we have to improve on.
“To become a top top team you have to score 90 or 100 goals to be competing with the top guns and it’s a challenge for us and an area that we have to improve and do better.”
Despite a tough run and the lack of goals, the Gunners have done pretty well to stay within touching distance of Liverpool who holds top spot with 16 points. Four point behind, but way down in ninth, Arteta’s players know how important it will be to beat Aston Villa on Sunday before a third Interlull of the season kicks in.
“Yes, it would be great [to win],” said Arteta. “Obviously before the international break if you are able to win, the mood in the camp and everybody is much better.
“You will reflect as well on your position in the table because there are other important games coming up. We know the game we are facing against [Villa], we have lost the last two times against them so it will be difficult, they are a team that has grown so much in recent months and they made some clever business in the market and they are stronger than last year.”