A shortage of goals is not something commonly associated with Arsenal teams past and present, especially during the Wenger era. The majority of Wenger sides have enjoyed goals aplenty, and Arsenal have consistently finished around third in the goal tallies over the past three seasons (twice third, once fourth).
Out of the past three seasons, The Gunners’ most fruitful in front of goal was the year 2012/2013 in which the back of the net was found 72 times in the Barclays Premier League alone. On face value, this seems like a tidy return for any side worth it’s salt, however, the 14 goal disparity between the Gunners and eventual winners Manchester United may explain why Arsenal were unable to finish above a familiar fourth place that year.
Arsenal have failed to score more than 80 goals in a single year since the 2009/2010 season in which The Gunners finished second to Chelsea – who blitzed the all time record with an incredible 103 Premier League goals. Does the total number of goals scored by a team carry much weight in terms of deciding their final league position? I am inclined to believe so.
Arsenal currently find themselves three games into the 2015/2016 season with only one goal to show for their efforts. Despite the fact that it is very early in the season, an inability to put the ball in the back of the net in the opening three matches has been glaringly obvious and has undoubtably cost The Gunners points. With a scarcity of options up front thanks to the absence of Danny Welbeck and the ruthless inefficiency of Olivier Giroud, this season will see a heavy reliance on goals from midfield unless another striker is signed to share the load up front. One of the key concerns that many Arsenal fans have, is where exactly those goals are going to come from? Aaron Ramsey is likely to chip in with possibly 10 in the league but aside from the Welshman, and potentially Santi Cazorla (who will likely find himself with fewer scoring opportunities due to his new deeper role), it is difficult to name a midfielder you would bet your house on to come up trumps over the course of a long season.
In the modern game goals equate to success. One of the most telling statistics that epitomises this theory entirely is the fact that five of the last six Premier League Champions have also ended the season as top scorers for the division. Only the Chelsea side of the 2014/2015 season bucked the trend of the last six years after managing to bring home the title despite scoring ten goals fewer than their closest rivals Manchester City.
The underlying point I am trying to make it that if Arsenal are serious about challenging for the title again, Wenger and Co will need to commit to bringing in a player that is capable of chipping in with a consistent number of goals from attack or midfield. Chelsea are a prime example of adding players that contribute goals quickly and effectively, after suffering a terrible start to the league with one point from an available 6, Jose Mourinho stumped up £21m for a proven goalscorer in Pedro. His impact was immediately noticeable last weekend when he contributed a goal and assist on his debut against West Brom.
Identifying deficiencies and providing a solution quickly seems to be one of Wenger’s primary downfalls in the transfer market, if a striker or goalscoring midfielder is not added to the Arsenal squad by the time the transfer window slams shut next week, Arsenal could be set up for another underwhelming, low scoring season in the league. It’s no coincidence that the last time Arsenal ended the season as top scorers, they also triumphed as Premier League Champions.
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