Mikel Arteta says Arsenal must address their lack of goals from midfield but admits there’s a question mark over whether his current options can answer the call.
Fun fact. Last season, Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Bukayo Saka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Mesut Ozil and Reiss Nelson managed a grand total of five Premier League goals between them.
Admittedly, you’d hardly expect four kids trying to make their way in senior football to be banging in the goals left, right and centre.
However, when you consider that two of the above have since left the club on loan and our World Cup winner can’t be selected until January at the earliest, it’s pretty clear that unless Thomas Partey and Mo Elneny morph into peak Freddie and Bobby, our midfield can’t be relied on to pick up the slack when our attackers falter…which, you may have noticed, they have been.
The answer probably lies in the transfer market but it won’t be solved in one window – certainly not in January – so the situation is a head-scratcher for Arteta who is increasingly under pressure to get the Gunners back to winning ways.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s clash with Rapid Vienna, the boss tackled a sore subject.
“If you ask, can they [the midfield] do it? There’s a question mark. Have they done it in the past? The answer is no.
“We haven’t had any goals from midfield, it’s not something that has happened this year. It happened in other years and it’s something that has to be addressed.
“To change the quality and characteristics of the players is very, very difficult. Again, it’s necessary.
“Big teams need big players in midfield who score goals. They need central defenders who score goals from set pieces to add to that. If you start to lose those margins, you start to lose points, you start to be away from the top teams. It’s not [rocket] science.”