Sheffield United v Arsenal: do Arsenal need a new £100m striker?




By Bulldog Drummond

The classic approach to having a title-winning team is to have a goal scorer getting 20+ goals a year.  Indeed many football journalists seem to think this is a “must”.

Last season in coming second in the league Arsenal didn’t have this, for while the top goalscorer was Haaland with 36 goals, Arsenal’s top man was Martinelli with just 15.  Above him were players from Liverpool, Newcastle United and Manchester United, all of whom were getting it “right” in simplistic journalistic terms, while Arsenal just didn’t get it.

And yet despite this “obvious” need for a 20+ goals a season man, Arsenal came second, just six goals behind Manchester City and 13 goals ahead of the third-highest-scoring team, Liverpool.

Then, despite all the suggestions that Arsenal should and could sign a 20+ man in the summer, still there was not one.  And yet once again Arsenal are right up near the top in terms of goals scored.  Just two goals behind top-scoring Liverpool and with tonight’s game in hand.

In a chart published by NBC sports a couple of days ago Arsenal have Saka in sixth place with 13 goals, and then Trossard in 27th place with seven goals.  We’re really not competing, are we?

And yet looking at that it is easy to think there must be some mistake.  Arsenal are second second-highest goal scorers, just two goals behind Liverpool.  But they don’t have a top goalscorer!

Now this fact has not quite entered the psyche of many “journalists” (I use the word lightly), who claim to watch football, and so it is of no surprise that today the Mirror is running the headline Arsenal news: Four-man striker shortlist  while the Express has Arsenal “set sights on £86m striker”

There are of course many such headlines but none of them answer the question: why change the most potent strike force in the league?

For it is clear that Arteta’s radical policy of replacing the traditional 20+ goals-a-season man so beloved of journalists with a multiplicity of scorers, so that the club is not only within a whisper of being the top scorers this season (and might well be top after tonight) but also have an absolute insurance policy against the top man being injured, is not something the journalist community can stomach.

Interestingly it is not something the rest of the League can do much about either.  Now, of course, one can’t generalise outwards from Sheffield United, because as we considered earlier, they have taken the approach of not spending money to stay up, but rather are adopting the new approach that others have used of keeping the increased revenues from being in the Premier League, paying off their debts and staying within FFP regulations (something Nottingham Forest have almost certainly failed to do).

Obviously, this new approach has been encouraged by the Premier League itself since it started taking action against Manchester City, Everton, Nottingham Forest, Chelsea and others who are said to be “of interest”.  But I am not sure the league quite expected such a dramatic turnaround in approach by the promoted clubs.

Yet if, as appears likely, at least two of the three relegated clubs of last season (Leicester, Leeds United, and Southampton) come up again, and then next season all three relegated clubs this season are in the fight for top places, that policy will be seen to be a winner.  One year in the PL, one year living on solidarity payments and a six-year plan to get the club a permanent mid-table PL position.  Not a bad plan.

No matter how badly a team does in the Premier League it will get a lot of cash from broadcasting, sponsors and sell-out crowds, and if that avoids being hauled in front of the FFP committee, and being docked points, then it seems a fair way to proceed.  As I say that is not what was imagined, but if it works….

Of course, the gap between Arsenal and Sheffield United is huge.  Arsenal have 45 points more than Sheffield Utd, or put another way, and have scored just on three times as many goals with around one-third of the goals conceded.

But more than this, in terms of goal-scoring Arsenal have seven players who have scored more goals than Sheffield United’s top scorer!  That is Saka (16), Trossard (10), Sheffield United’s top scorer is McAfee with five. 

But more to the point, Arsenal have insurance against being kicked off the park by teams that referees seem not to worry about too much.  Obviously, we don’t want anyone to be injured, but if it happens to a forward, there are half a dozen more of the chaps, all lining up to take his place.

I don’t know about you, but it is working for me.


3 Replies to “Sheffield United v Arsenal: do Arsenal need a new £100m striker?”

  1. On German TV, they did mention that Arsenal this season have 18 (or was it 19) goalscorers….
    Talk about spreading the load….
    Maybe one of these days, the Arsenal attack will be called the Hydra ….

  2. How many own goals were we ‘donated ‘ ? Looks like its quite a few . Could ‘they’ become in our top three contributors ? You never know !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *