Arsenal

Strange Mikel Arteta goalscoring comments go under the radar as Arsenal problem persists

Mikel Arteta described Arsenal’s 88-goal Premier League tally from last season as a “one-off” in a frustrating press conference reply which has gone under the radar.

Arsenal scored more goals in the Premier League last season with 88 than in any other campaign. The tally was contributed primarily by Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus, who all managed to get into double digits for the season.

Sadly, the quartet are far behind that type of output this season and with the Gunners lacking the clinical finishing and goalscoring threat that saw them lead the way at the top of the league for such an extended period before sadly crumbling at the end. Little has changed in the squad besides Granit Xhaka leaving and new players arriving such as Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and David Raya arriving – Jurrien Timber too, but the Dutchman has been injured besides just over 45 minutes of Premier League action.

I personally have been suggesting that desperate calls to sign a striker whilst understandable are not entirely justified considering the tools which beat Arsenal tallies from sides including Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still exist in the current team. The job for Mikel Arteta is working out how to rediscover that form.

However, in his last pre-match press conference ahead of the game with Liverpool in the FA Cup which Arsenal would create a host of chances but fail to score any he made some interesting yet frustrating comments – at least from my perspective. When asked about the goal tally in the 22/23 campaign, the Spaniard described it as something of a unique season

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READ MORE: Arsenal news and transfers LIVE – Gabriel Jesus update, Kylian Mbappe move, £34m release clause

“When it comes to those spaces, the timing and the definition of the action [in front of goal] that becomes trickier to coach and certainly to replicate as an action in the game. It’s very tricky but it’s something that we have to improve, especially in the way we have not transformed recent chances into goals.”

I was disheartened to hear Arteta talk about the season like that. Describe it as an extraordinary season that sets a fantastic target for the club to try to reach again, for sure. But to describe it as a ‘one-off’ is disappointing.

I understand Arteta’s following statements regarding the challenge of replicating it. I’d add that teams will be playing differently against us this season and sit deeper whilst also having improved

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Comments made by Mikel Arteta on Arsenal’s goalscoring season have gone under the radar.
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, holds a notepad during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on December 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) (Image: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal scored more goals in the Premier League last season with 88 than in any other campaign. The tally was contributed primarily by Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus, who all managed to get into double digits for the season.

Sadly, the quartet are far behind that type of output this season and with the Gunners lacking the clinical finishing and goalscoring threat that saw them lead the way at the top of the league for such an extended period before sadly crumbling at the end. Little has changed in the squad besides Granit Xhaka leaving and new players arriving such as Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and David Raya arriving – Jurrien Timber too, but the Dutchman has been injured besides just over 45 minutes of Premier League action.

I personally have been suggesting that desperate calls to sign a striker whilst understandable are not entirely justified considering the tools which beat Arsenal tallies from sides including Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still exist in the current team. The job for Mikel Arteta is working out how to rediscover that form.

However, in his last pre-match press conference ahead of the game with Liverpool in the FA Cup which Arsenal would create a host of chances but fail to score any he made some interesting yet frustrating comments – at least from my perspective. When asked about the goal tally in the 22/23 campaign, the Spaniard described it as something of a unique season.

“What they [the forwards] did last year was exceptional and we knew that to maintain those numbers would be extremely difficult because it was a one-off,” added Arteta.

“Not just for us, a one-off in the league. We know that we need all the resources and all those kinds of goals to maintain the level that we want in the league.

READ MORE: Arsenal given surprise Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey boost as Mikel Arteta eyes title revival

138429476620
READ MORE: Arsenal news and transfers LIVE – Gabriel Jesus update, Kylian Mbappe move, £34m release clause

“When it comes to those spaces, the timing and the definition of the action [in front of goal] that becomes trickier to coach and certainly to replicate as an action in the game. It’s very tricky but it’s something that we have to improve, especially in the way we have not transformed recent chances into goals.”

I was disheartened to hear Arteta talk about the season like that. Describe it as an extraordinary season that sets a fantastic target for the club to try to reach again, for sure. But to describe it as a ‘one-off’ is disappointing.

I understand Arteta’s following statements regarding the challenge of replicating it. I’d add that teams will be playing differently against us this season and sit deeper whilst also having improved.

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However, again, the description of it being a ‘one-off’ comes across as too defeatist for me. I’d like to see it set as a marker and a target rather than this unobtainable goal.

Pep Guardiola was asked about the potential of repeating the treble earlier in the season to which he scoffed. I empathise with this view as winning these three tournaments in successive seasons is an expectation even the best side in the world would struggle to reach.

But Arsenal, a club with a young side and which has added some new quality in the summer should certainly be targeting another high-scoring season. Instead, it has seemingly become the crux of the side’s issues instead.

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