The one thing that Arsenal so clearly need this season



By Tony Attwood

We’ve been exploring the theory that the only thing wrong with Arsenal is its ability as a team to recover from a defeat.   We saw that twice last season, first when between 27 January and 15 February 2023 we suffered three defeats and had one draw.   In those four games we scored two goals.

The second blip came across eight games which included two wins, three defeats and three draws.  During that spell Arsenal scored 13 goals which is 1.625 a game.   Our average across the whole season (including of course the two blips) was 2.316 goals a game.

Now we are seeing exactly the same pattern again: another blip.    If we take the last seven games in all competitions we have four defeats, two draws and one victory.  (Data from 11v11)


Date Match Result Score Competition
09 Dec 2023 Aston Villa v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
12 Dec 2023 PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal D 1-1 Champions League
17 Dec 2023 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion W 2-0 Premier League
23 Dec 2023 Liverpool v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
28 Dec 2023 Arsenal v West Ham United L 0-2 Premier League
31 Dec 2023 Fulham v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
07 Jan 2024 Arsenal v Liverpool L 0-2 FA Cup


Looking at this it is clear that what Arsenal need is two things – a goalscorer who will score even when the games are going against the team, and a person of such personality that he will galvanise the whole team even when yet another game is slipping away.

And that need looks much stronger than just because the goals have dried up – because this means we need someone who can pick up the whole team.

Now last season I was very much in favour of the approach Arsenal had in which goals were scored by four different main players with a fifth (Eddie) looking as if he could join the merry throng.  If we look at the goal scorers for last season this is clear…


Sqd Player Starts Subs Goals GPG Pens Yellows YPG
11 Gabriel Martinelli 40 6 15 0.375 5 0.12
8 Martin Odegaard 39 6 15 0.384 5 0.13
7 Bukayo Saka 42 6 15 0.357 2 7 0.17
9 Gabriel Jesus 27 6 11 0.40 1 7 0.26
14 Eddie Nketiah 18 21 9 0.50 3 0.17


With those players in the team, the opposition truly didn’t know how to mark them.   

This season we appear to have lost that ability to score – hence the recent defeats, but I am not sure everything is lost.


Sqd Player Starts Subs Goals GPG Pens Yellows YPG
7 Bukayo Saka 26 1 9 0.35 2 2 0.08
9 Gabriel Jesus 15 6 7 0.47 5 0.33
8 Martin Odegaard 23 3 7 0.30 2 1 0.04
14 Eddie Nketiah 13 14 6 0.46 4 0.31
19 Leandro Trossard 11 13 6 0.55 0 0
29 Kai Havertz 22 7 5 0.23 1 6 0.27


The first obvious factor is that Jesus and Nketiah are being yellow carded far more than last season.  Up from 0.26 and 0.17 cards per game they are now on 0.33 and 0.31 per game.  Add to this Havertz on 0.27 cards per game, and we now have three players whose performances will be affected by the worry of another yellow card. 

In terms of goals per game we can see that Saka is performing at the same level as before, as is Jesus, while Nketiah has slipped a bit.   The big drop as we all know is Martinelli but we now have Trossard and Havertz in the charts.

The positive news is that even without Martinelli registering in the goalscoring list we have six potential goalscorers.   But so far the club has only been scoring 1.85 goals a game.   Last season it was 2.32 goals per game, and that is the total Arsenal have to move up to.

I believe this is possible because we now have more goal scorers, and although Havertz’ figure is very low (5 goals in 22 games) that is because he took a while to get going his rate of scoring over the last eight games has been the same as Saka.

So I was of course as disappointed last night as everyone else there – not least by the vast array of empty seats at the Liverpool end – a different arrangement at that end could have made many more tickets available to Arsenal fans.   It was also interesting to see how many Arsenal season ticket holders had not opted in to the cup ticket scheme.  I would like to know why.

Obviously overwhelming the disappointment is that we lost again, but I think the potential is there with once more the goals being spread out across the team.  We just need the ability to get out of the psychological drop of a prolonged dip in form.

7 Replies to “The one thing that Arsenal so clearly need this season”

  1. We started well and had most of the possession in the first half . We should have been at least two up before the break. We had the chances , but our finishing was woeful . When we should have been trying to break their net with power and precision , we ended up just taping it back to their keeper . Am not sure what the players were told , but we need to more firmer and coarser in our approach.

    A few times we were probably robbed of free kicks , but the players should try and stay on their feet and not to try to dive or fall over to win free kicks . It is obvious that we have to change our attitude . No referee is going to aid us. We have to be firmer and more smarter .

    But we did play much better than the previous two games , and am hopeful that we bounce back and get back to winning ways . Throw the kitchen sink at the opposition and the ref if need be !

    Up the Gunners !

  2. I blame Brickfields Gunners, a secret Spud? I heard he harangues Arteta week-in week out to do it his way! LOL! Jokes aside how are you? Been a long time!

  3. @ Kenneth – The day that I come out as a secret Spud , would be also the last day for Earth ! Am good . Nice to see old friends back here . Truly was hoping that we win something , especially The EPL this season and to mark our 20th anniversary of not wining it . But then , who knows ? We may do it this year !

    I do hope all the old timers post on here once in a while . Not much bashing to be done here , unlike before , where this site was being constantly attacked by the unbelievers . Hope you are well , too ?

    As old habits die hard , I only open this site when on my clinic computer , mostly around lunch hour. I still do not visit other sites as I find them too stupid or too childish . The kids nowadays !

    Cheers !

    Up the Gunners !

  4. We had some great times in them thar old days! You used to crack me up with the posts you put up when some tools would come over, never directly engaging but they knew it was for them! Lots of humour and good laughs ( lots of great memories flooding back). I think a lot of the ranting is now on YT rather than on blogs?

    Glad you’re doing well, Im ok, still keepin’ on despite everything. Makes you wonder where all the old-timers went hopefully not down the Seven Sisters road to the Chicken Coop, or up to the Highbury in the sky?

    Take care Indra, great to know you’re doing well and hope you’re family is doing well too.

  5. @ Kenneth – Thank you for the kind words. We did have a fun time back then . Bashing them aaas was fun !
    Would be great to reconnect with old friends from before .
    So how about it Tony ? Can we have an article from you , where the old timers can recheck back , reflect on our past exploits and just catch up ?

    In the meanwhile , best wishes to all on here .
    Up the Gunners !

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