Arsenal Season Missing One Key to the Puzzle

Despite losing to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, it can be argued that Arsenal have had a decent season. They are now at the top of the Premier League table after their 2-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, having played a match more than their rivals.

In fact, Mikel Arteta’s side has once again been able to make his team a part of the title race, this time alongside Manchester City and Liverpool. Both Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp are considerably more experienced as a manager than Arteta. Hence, what the younger Spaniard has achieved is no mean feat..

A Clinical Finisher Would Have Strengthened Arsenal

Arsenal’s stubbornness in terms of not signing a clinical finisher might cost them the Premier League title. Kai Havertz, their new acquisition at the start of the season, has scored 10 goals in 45 matches so far. Leandro Trossard, who has often played second-fiddle to the German, has 14 goals in 41 matches.
Gabriel Jesus, who was injured for quite some time, has scored eight times in 31 matches. That is a combined total of 32 goals that the Gunners have got from their trio of false nines.
In comparison, Erling Haaland has alone scored 31 goals already this season. This is something that Arteta will have to acknowledge and learn from. He must have already learnt his lesson and might go on to sign a couple of centre-forwards next season.

Teams Have Played Without a Proper Striker in the Past

There have been teams which have been very successful in the past without a proper striker. Since Guardiola started sort of a revolution by playing Lionel Messi as the false nine at Barcelona, a few teams have followed suit. Most famous of them was the Spanish national team in the 2012 European Championships.
However, Spain’s playing style was more possession-oriented than Arsenal’s is and hence, the Gunners have needed a striker more often. That Spanish team lost possession of the ball less frequently than Arsenal does.
Moreover, it was a month-long tournament and cannot be compared with a marathon league.
Not every player is Messi, who still managed to score heaps of goals even while playing as a false nine.
Manchester City also played Jesus as a striker during the initial part of his stint with the club. However, it has to be kept in mind in this context that the Brazilian scored more than 20 goals in back-to-back seasons for the Cityzens, which is a decent return.
None of the Arsenal’s current centre-forwards should be able to reach the tally of 20 goals this season. While they have a couple of prolific wingers in Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli and a quality midfielder like Martin Ødegaard, it has often proved to be inadequate against big teams.
Arsenal Has a Couple of Big Matches Left

Arsenal has yet to play against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur twice in the Premier League this term. Both of those matches could prove to be tough ones, United’s recent form notwithstanding.

Still, the Gunners will have to win as many of their remaining matches as possible to keep the pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool. It remains to be seen whether they are able to do so.

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