No Excuses Left, It’s A Lack Of Fire-Power That Will Cost Arsenal This Season
After a disappointing 0-0 draw with Bolton, I asses the main cause for concern for Arsenal; their lack of cutting edge in front of goal and lack of goalscorers
Another league game goes by and more dropped points from a game Arsenal should have tied up within 30 minutes. That’s 1 point from 12 this year.
The excuses are running out now. For most of the season fans and particularly Arsene Wenger, have blamed injuries as the key reason for us dropping points. And rightly so in some cases. Not many squads could cope with the number of injuries to key players we’ve had to deal with this season.
However, while we’re still missing the likes of Wilshere, Gibbs and Santos, injuries can’t really be used as a excuse for the 0-0 draw with Bolton yesterday. Last nights team was more than capable of collecting all three points and we created more than enough chances to win the game, and that has been the case all to often this season.
Pundits like to portray Arsenal as a team that plays pretty football but cant defend. But what team can defend this season? All teams are conceding goals, even the likes of City and United. Now i know our defence is far from water-tight, but it’s improving. With Sagna at right back, Vermaelen at left back and Koscielny and Mertesacker in the middle, we had a solid looking defence last night. Certainly the most solid it’s looked in a long time, and i can see us being more sound at the back in the coming months.
So our defence isn’t my worry, it’s our inability to convert our chances that’s the real issue. On several occasions this season Arsenal have scrapped a win or only managed a draw, after spurning several chances throughout the game. Newcastle, Swansea, QPR, Wolves, Everton, City and Fulham are just a few matches that spring to mind.
But the last few months have been particularly worrying. We’ve now scored just 9 goals in the last 9 league games. If anything is going to cost us fourth place or a trophy this season, i think it will be our lack of cutting edge in front of goal.
Yes, you can say ‘at least we’re creating chances’. But there’s no point creating chances if you don’t take them! Walcott, Ramsey, Chamberlain and Van Persie should have scored inside the opening 30 minutes against Bolton. But they didn’t, and that’s been our problem of late. Walcott’s miss when he was through on goal typifies our lack of cutting edge recently.
We all know van Persie has been carrying the goal-scoring burden so far this campaign, he’s scored 19 of our 39 league goals after all. But the Dutchman has received absolutely no support from from his wide-men or midfield in the goal stakes. Our finishing in general has been woeful this season, with the exception of RVP of course.
Ramsey has been playing in the advanced ‘play-maker’ midfield role, but has so far only scored 1 goal. Walcott just 3 goals, and Gervinho a slightly more respectable 4 goals in his 15 games. Just 8 goals have come from the three players nearest to Van Persie in the attacking third this season.
It’s been glaringly obvious Arsenal needed a reliable back-up/partner for van Persie, but the boss has decided to risk it and refused to sign another striker in January. That’s despite our current second-choice striker, Chamakh, only contributing 1 solitary goal in the league so far. Wenger clearly doesn’t trust Park yet, so what are we left with? Relying on Robin.
Titles and trophies are often won by the strength of a teams bench. A manager knowing that if he needs to, he has the players to call upon to change a game or nick a goal. We don’t have that. We have players low on confidence and low on quality. Predictable players who don’t change the course of a game.
Chamberlain has been a shining light in recent games, and he looks like he could chip in with a few goals, but it’s unfair to put too much expectation on his shoulders. Now the transfer window has closed, Ramsey, Walcott, Arshavin, Gervinho and Chamakh (when they return), all need to step up and start putting the chances away when they come.
Forget our ‘dodgy’ defence, forget injuries, if Arsenal miss out on Champions League football or a trophy this season, it will be because of our lack of fire-power.
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