After another frustrating Premier League display on Sunday, isn’t it time that Arsenal tried something new in attack?
For the umpteenth time this season, the Gunners suffered from a lack of killer instinct in front of goal and had to settle for a 0-0 draw as a host of chances were either spurned or denied by the hosts defence.
In total, the Gunners had 20 shots on goal against Sunderland, seven of which were on target. And yet, despite their statistical dominance, Arsene Wenger’s men again failed to put their chances away.
Speaking to Arsenal Player after the match, Arsene said:
“I think we played very well in the first half. Unfortunately we couldn’t take our chances and in the second half we dropped a little bit physically, because we played three games in seven days and our cohesion was less good.
“We didn’t make enough with the possession we had and the chances we created, so we have to be supportive of the team at the moment and keep going.
“I think we had very good opportunities. We didn’t look calm enough when we had the chances. Sometimes we gave the ball a bit late but overall I think the first half was very interesting.”
How many times have we heard that this season? How many times have we ‘lacked sharpness’ in front of goal?
Every team has its off days, every team comes up against an inspired goalkeeper from time to time, but it happens so regularly to Arsenal in attack that it has to be more than coincidence.
Look at the Crystal Palace game – we scored one goal from 21 shots, the Eagles scored one from just seven. The Swansea defeat, we managed one goal from 17 shots, Swansea managed two from 11.
And the defeat at Manchester United, where the hosts scored three goals from just seven shots, where we hit two from 13.
You have to believe that work is being done on the training ground to improve this, but it is a problem that is showing little sign of doing so. If anything it is becoming consistently worse.
In the long term, it is clear that we need to invest in a striker of real pedigree, one who can be relied upon to finish with regularity and with a flair that we have scarce seen at Arsenal since Robin Van Persie enjoyed his purple patch.
In the short term, maybe it is time to do something different. It would seem madness to change formation at this late stage of proceedings, but with difficult games against Norwich and Manchester City coming up, can we afford to leave it to chance?
Can we just carry on in the same style and hope that one of our strikers finds the scoring touch?
Maybe it’s worth putting Alexis Sanchez up top, with Danny Welbeck in support. Who knows, maybe it’s even worth giving Joel Campbell a run out in attack.
It may seem so far out of leftfield as to be beyond the stadium, but, as it stands, we are trusting securing our Champions League qualification on the form of an Olivier Giroud bereft of form and confidence, a striker in Danny Welbeck who is still on the recovery trail, and Theo Walcott, a man who quite literally jumped over man and ball to avoid making a tackle at Sunderland.
If nothing else, it’s something to ponder as we look ahead to Saturday. Who knows, maybe a good rest will restore Arsenal to better form but, if it doesn’t, we could be looking at the real possibility of dropping more points.