By Tony Attwood
Football journalists love easy questions and easy answers. Do Arsenal need a new centre forward? Yes! Why? Because our current centre forward is out of contract at the end of the season and anyway he’s not scoring goals.
That is a perfectly valid reason in that across the last 25 games we are 22 goals behind the top scoring club – almost one goal per game. (I continue to look at the last 25, since it excludes the opening three games when most of our team were not in place, and I am hoping that won’t happen again next season).
Here is the table in the order of goals scored…
|6||West Ham United||25||12||4||9||38||31||7||40|
And besides goal difference, although not of importance this season, could become of importance and we are 11 goals behind Chelsea in the goal difference list.
But the leap from this point to “bring in a new man to replace Lacazette and Aubameyang” might not be the right answer – if that solution stops the rest of the forward line and attacking midfielders from playing as they are now.
And we ought to remember although it is fun to watch a side knocking in goals all the time, you still only get three points for a win. And if you still want one more reason for thinking that having the main man as a scorer actually should not be taken as a given, think of Tottenham Hotspur. An unpleasant thought I know, but they have the greatest centre forward in the land playing for them (I know that because the media tells me so very regularly) and they have scored fewer goals than we have.
So how have we been maintaining this form? Here are the last ten games (and in response to a few people who have written in citing the “last 10” games form which appears on The Fishy website, that is not always up to date. As of this morning, 24 March, they have still not included the victory five days ago against Villa in their calculations).
Arsenal are third in the league across the last ten games played, but if we were to measure Arsenal’s place in the league by goals scored we would be in sixth which is not so good – although last time I looked we still measured the league position by points.
|Pos in last 10 by points||Pos in last 10 by goals scored||Team||P||F||A||GD||Pts|
And the big problem is that if Arsenal introduced a new powerful centre forward to replace Lacazette, we would gain a goal scorer, but lose a provider.
Lacazette has seven assists this season – the sixth highest provider of assists in the league at the moment. The highest assist total is 11 from Trent Alexander Arnold.
So do we want another goal scorer to take our total goals up by another ten or 15, or do we want to retain that position as that of an assistant?
The reason I would argue for the latter is because our goal scorers are young and still finding their way through the game. Thus their number of goals is likely to rise next season. Here is the list of the top Arsenal goal scorers in the league this season
|Emile Smith Rowe||19||8||10|
My argument would be that there is every reason to expect Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli and Odegaard to score more next season. But adding a high profile “give it to me and I’ll score” centre forward would change the balance of the team.
Compare Arsenal’s goalscoring this season with Tottenham’s…
Tottenham have the media’s favourite goalscorer knocking in 22 this season. Exactly what Arsenal could do with, one might say. Except Tottenham are three goals and 15 points behind us in the league this season across the last 25 games.
Of course Arteta knows much more than I do about players and player recruitment, but I am sure that if Arsenal don’t bring in a big-time goalscorer for next season the media will be in uproar and some Arsenal supporters, along I suspect with AFTV and Arsenal Supporters Trust, will be critical of the club.
The moaning will start, and go on and on and on, and that is never helpful. So maybe we do need a big centre forward, just to shut up the moaners.
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