Arteta: We need to score more goals

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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.”

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shokim

Don’t mean to be mean, but is this the part where we say – “No shit, Sherlock!”

Seriously though, we need to improve our GF column. Or we’d regret big time when the league season ends if it comes down to goal difference.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yes we do. And I hope we start banging them in. But I’ve got to be honest, I love how tight we have become at the back. The PTSD of the last fifteen years had caught up with me and previous to this season every time the opposition attacked my balls would shrink to the size of raisins. The “Arsenal way” was only created by Wenger and before him we had a very, very different philosophy all together. I’ll be only too happy to witness 1 – 0’s and 2 – 1’s as long as we stop behaving like a… Read more »

Viv the 🐐

And most of the Wenger Time was like: If we don’t win it 4:0, we gonna loose it 3:4. When crosses get into the box, I’m not as afraid as the last 10 years. And I’m very thankful for that. Up The Arsenal!

Futsboller

We are so much better defensively as a team. Wenger was able to turn attack into good defence, and Arteta’s desire to score 90-100 a season is evidence that the apple doesn’t fall too far …

And Wenger’s teams still put up decent GA numbers, despite our traumatized recollections (and I agree, it was traumatizing!!) – it really only became disastrous in the final few years. Our goals against from 07/08 onwards: 31, 37, 41, 43, 49, 37, 41, 36, 36, 44, 51, 51 (Emery), 48 (Emery/Arteta). We’re on pace for 38 GA this season.

Doey

It’s too easy to forget how we have been for the last 4 years or so – spineless against the big guns and too easily shipping a couple of goals to the lower end of the league.

It’s nice now to be worrying about whether we’re scoring enough goals with forwards that are obviously and demonstrably capable of it. It’s how we fix the problem rather than what the hell do we do here?

SB Still

Don’t forget Sam Allardyce / Tony Pulis type football isn’t played anymore and even Mike Dean gives penalty for Arsenal these days.

Don’t have to list the success of Wenger’s 1st decade or the reasons for the decline in his 2nd decade (including his own inability to recognise his waning management skills).

I’m happy Arteta recognises the need for improving on the attacking side of the performance and hope that the board support him to strengthen when possible.

49'

That’s basically what he said.

Mentally Drained Gooner

These statements by him makes me optimistic about our future. Never shies away from the truth. Always says the right thing. Very self aware about the team. Not giving silly excuses.

We’re in good hands. We just need time and he needs support from the club and fans.

Biggles

Yes, there’s no doubt about that. Our goal scoring in the PL has been nothing short of appalling. Nine goals only so far and a third of those in the opening game! With the scoring “potential” we have (on paper, where it doesn’t count of course), the total should be higher than that. Auba’s goal drought is a big factor of course, but nobody else is stepping up on a regular basis – which is a worry. Scoring against some relatively weak sides in the Europa League is one thing, but doing it week in and out in the PL… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I would usually ask “Glass half empty guy hey?”

But in your case Biggles, given your endless negativity, I would ask “Did someone pour out the beer, smash the glass and is use it as a suppository on you?”

Biggles

Hmmm. As you haven’t made any contrary argument, I assume you don’t have one. Anyway, so what is there “negative” about the FACT that we’ve scored only nine goals in seven PL games, including the penalty at Old Trafford, and three of those goals came in the opening match? Are you looking at some alternative universe PL table perhaps? Given the players we have, that is – in my view – appalling. Auba has had a goal drought – 2 PL goals, inc. the Old Trafford penalty, so far and goals haven’t been scored on a regular basis by anyone… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

When mangers first arrive at clubs, apart from Klopp who did the opposite, the first thing they do is sure up the defence. There’s really no point in being impressive attackers if you concede every time the opposition get in your half. Arteta has clearly prioritised this as we’ve been famously crap at it for about a decade and a half. You criticising our attacking threat as “appalling” is like a sinking ship and while people try and bucket water over the side, you get arsey that we aren’t getting any nearer the destination. I think people forget so quickly… Read more »

Pete Plum

Sorry but downvoting the true Arsenal fans agree with me angle

Biggles

Very interesting – at least you’re making an argument this time. You mention strengthening the defence as a priority – true of course, but it can be argued that Arteta didn’t need to strengthen the attack particularly because the key players were already in place and still are. You then repeat this nonsense that merely stating the facts is somehow being “negative”, or “arsey” as you put it (what a wonderful language we have, if only people used it more often). It’s neither, it’s a statement of reality. Where we were last year is irrelevant to the fact we’ve scored… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I’ve got to love your resilience Biggles me old mucker. You have an uncanny ability to say things which almost everyone disagrees with over and over again. Whether it’s calling our young players arrogant or throwing your toys out of the pram because we don’t score enough or deeming our start to the season unacceptable or getting immediately pissy with a manager who just won us an fa cup, it’s impressive how lacking in gratitude and humility you are. Maybe you’re a visionary and the rest of us ignorant plebs, but when you see that cascade of down votes after… Read more »

Eduar-do a deer

Biggles just got biatch slapped! Lol.
You gotta love it when j4h has beef.
The boy goes all out.

Goontastic

To be fair to Biggles, he does talk a lot of old arse.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Laca and Pepe are the two guys who could make us challenge for the league if they perform to full potential. Pires and Freddie played that supporting role to perfection. Laca is capable of it but I don’t know what has happened to him. Pepe needs to prove he is capable of it.

John C

We have to move away from this 3 at the back with this confusing hybrid left wingback that the more we play with it is making that side of the pitch less and less effective. In the beginning it was tactically confusing for the opposition but the longer we keep it the less effective it becomes, either defensively or offensively. With Gabriel and Holding at centre back and Partey and Elneny offering an effective midfield we now have a base from which to build. Get our world class goalscorer playing back in positions where he can score and put effective… Read more »

The Far Post

Arsenal scored

3 against Fulham away W,
2 against WHam home W,
1 against Liverpool away L 2-1,
2 against Sheffield Utd home W,
0 against Man City away L 1-0,
0 against Leicester home L 0-1,
1 against Man Utd away W

Not great, particularly against Leicester, but not a disaster or “appalling”.

Johnny 4 Hats

No point reasoning with him.

If we won the champs league final 4-0 against Barca at the Nou Camp but Auba missed a penalty in the last minute, Biggles would be on here saying we’ve got serious problems in the penalty taking department…

Paul

He reminds me of Chicken Little “the sky is falling”, but we need people like him to keep us erh… grounded

Fuzz

course they are stronger they have EMI!!

Paddy K

Jesus will this ever end. He’s gone, moved on to another team, get over it. Move on.

Public Elneny

Emi superfans are getting almost as annoying as the Ozil ones…

LeoLeoLeo

I agree!

fmikael

hahaha…I agree…I lov emi too but….

BillyKrystal

Emi superfans are delusional. He played 24 games for us this year if you include community shield. 11 games in total before this year. He was excellent and all credit due, we couldn’t have won the FA Cup without him, but there’s just not enough there to pine for him like this. He’s been solid for Villa without being spectacular, I think that’s about his level. Leno’s been shaky lately but overall the better keeper

Crash Fistfight

Is he including a pre-season friendly in his “last two” games against Villa?

David C

Can’t wait for Martinelli to come back. I think we’re missing his finishing.

Squad vs. Villa:
Leno
Holding Gabriel Tierney
Bellerin Elneny Partey Saka
Pepe Nketiah Auba

Super sub: Willock!

Could Willock play in the front 3? The boy can finish and he has a great engine on him like Elneny.

John C

There’s really no need to play with 3 at the back with Partey and Elneny in midfield and that left wingback position offers absolutely nothing to the team, either defensively or offensively, so either put another body in midfield or attack.

Also irrespective of Arseblog says, Willian is not the issue with our front 3 at them moment, that’s Lacazette, who offers nothing. Put Auba through the middle and go with a combination of either Willian, Pepe and Saka up front.

Naked Cygan

I am not a big fan of Laca, but I believe he has been asked to play deeper and defend more. His lack of goals and shots has to do more with our tactics than his ability.

John C

Lacazette has become more and more immobile i’m really not sure he has a choice with how he plays at the moment.

Maybe it’s because he’s better with his back to goal i don’t know, but at the moment it’s dysfunctional because we’re having to play our best goalscorer in a suboptimal position to accommodate him.

fmikael

Laca’s offers us a starting focal point of attack in transition, pretty much in the same way Giroud’s role used to be for us. If the opposition manage to neutralize him, they stop our attack from building at the starting point……I’m not totally sure on this point, but I think Auba would be less effective in Laca’s role where he would be receiving most of the ball with a defender or defenders on his back (if Laca is not playing), hence the status quo. Auba main asset is his deep threat and his finishing in and around the box. In… Read more »

fmikael

In short..while many sees the decision by Arteta to play Laca or Eddie at centre forward as a bane for Auba, I think his actual intention is to allow Auba to move more freely further up the pitch, and with a bit more freedom in and around the box.

John C

I get what Arteta trying to do but we have a problem where theory meets reality. I get that he’s tried on the left to create a carousel with Xhaka dropping deep, bring a midfielder with him and shifting that left hand side upwards leading to Auba coming in to the middle, the problem is it isn’t working. The opposition know it’s coming and i don’t think it’s bringing the best out of either Auba or Saka, who seems to spend most of his time and energy just trying to get into one of the 3 positions he’s supposed to… Read more »

Naked Cygan

This is the team we should play at home against a weaker side:

Leno
Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney
Elneny Partey
Willock
Pepe Auba Saka

The reason I picked Luiz over holding is that he gives us that extra option with long balls. But I don’t think Arteta will pick this team. I believe the team below is the team he will pick.
Leno
Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney
Elneny Partey Saka
Willian Laca Auba

InMikelWeMust

Yup, looks good my man!! Fingers crossed!

Alex

When you kick out one of the best creators of football History for “football reason”… and realise you need creation… but thanks to a 11 months Arsenal propaganda MA is what is the closest to God for fans and media so all is fine.

Naked Cygan

Ozil is one of the best creators, no doubt, but given our lack of quality in other areas, change of managers, change of tactics, trying to fix our sh*t defending, which we have (lowest number of goals against) Ozil had to be sacrificed. Ozil is a special player who belongs to Big teams with who usually have 75% plus possession, have a good solid defense and spend 70% plus in the opponents half. Ozil belongs to the likes of Real madrid, barcelona, PSG, Liverpool, and man city. Ozil is a quality special player who needs the freedom of not defending… Read more »

The Kolkata Gooner

Couldn’t have said it better, Naked Cygan. Thank you so much for putting this Ozil debate to bed so well. I’m just tired of Ozil fanboys constantly raising their heads, when they were nowhere to be seen when we were shipping 3-4 goals against the likes of Southampton and Watford with Ozil on the pitch.

Group Captain Mandrake

Well said. In addition, Ozil may be a special player, but he was not producing assists or goals when he played. I really like watching him play, but he does not fit this team.

Tombo

Defensive stability was needed, now he can focus on the midfield and the goals will start to come. He’s done a great job even though some of the play has been a bit uninspiring. I’m hoping we can start moving to a back 4 though, that seems to be the biggest hinderance.

Group Captain Mandrake

File this next to “water is wet…”

A. Williams

I’m sorry but I find it hard reading whatever arterta says.

Santori

Still too slow in transitions and switching play, not enough movement off the ball or concerted movement in unison when attacking. Encouraging signs from Willock and the team did counter in unison better but remember opposition we were facing and put in perspective. Fundamentals in terms of defensive posture better with Arteta but we saw this when with Wenger and Emery before as well when they managed periodically to firm up defense with more caution and bodies, the corresponding attacking output suffered. How to balanc eout both ends and connect it with the midfield was the problem…the proverbial handbrakes when… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Wasn’t Arsenal’s fault that Aouar did not come. He was happy to stay with Lyon this season to be sold to a bigger club next year. He may end up with Fulham in two years. Wenger wanted Jean-Michel Seri but he preferred going to Barcelona the following season. Now he is playing for Galatasaray.

czerwonadupa

He also wanted Hazard who decided to stayed a year at Lille & we all know what happened next, the oligarch stepped in & Wenger lost out again. So don’t be surprised if the same happens with Aouar.

perfectpires

says the manager who has nullified our most potent attacker