Please please us with goals
What do Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Granit Xhaka, and Eddie Nketiah have in common? These 6 players were our main goal-scorers last season. The first four with 15 and the next 2 with 9. 78 goals across all competitions with Xhaka’s arguably the most impressive as he is a defensive midfielder. He did start most matches though. Eddie Nketiah started the least at only 18 so his nine could be argued as the most impressive and they did include some very crucial ones which kept us believing. I was there for the Man Utd one and we celebrated like crazy.
20 plus this year, Gabi
Jesus started 27 plus 6 as sub for his 15 and again these are good figures so our two strikers did well considering they had limited playing time and both had long term injuries. I feel that if either one had been first choice and injury free we would have won the league as the more you play with your assistants the more of the telepathy you share. They are 2 different players and you have to find them differently. Jesus is everywhere and Nketiah is more of a traditional striker. So the midfielders and wingers had to adjust each time as to when and where to pass. I would imagine that Nketiah’s positions are easier as he would be in and around the box.
We can work it out both ways
It meant that Arteta had to train the players both ways. You have to know where a player is likely to be and also how they like the ball. To the left foot, the right, the head, can they handle the ball at mid height, have they good control of a fast moving ball, how are they for receiving the ball under pressure, behind or in front, do they have the pace to get to a ball in a sprint with a defender? It is fair to say that those 2 players are quite different as we all can see. It has to be a challenge for the players to adjust mid-match or even from one match to the next.
And 20 plus from you, Eddie
If anyone watches Match of the day, they have a predominance of strikers as their main commentators, Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and our own Ian Wright. They all agree that they want the midfielders and wingers to find them as quickly as possible when they run into a good position and get angry if they are not found. Jesus is not really such a player as he gets more involved in the build-up and is often found on the wings or receiving the ball in the middle. It does mean, however, that he is quite often not in the strikers position. He is no goal poacher whereas Nketiah is.
Alan Shearer got angry if he didn't get the ball
One can guess, judging by the start of the season, that Arteta has decided to play both ways, possibly depending on the opposition, to give an unpredictability to how we play. It will probably mean that If Jesus starts, Nketiah will come on with some time left and vice versa to disrupt the opposition.
We need goals here, there and everywhere
I feel that Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard will be required to have strong figures like last season and Trossard, Havertz and Viera will be required to step up and score. 8 solid scorers gives us a great chance.
How about 15, Guy Havertz?
Judging by Nketiah’s positioning and runs, Arteta wants Nketiah to be more like Jesus and yet not abandon the striker role. And judging by Jesus’s goal, perhaps Jesus to be more like a striker. He put the goal away superbly just like Henry. A total of 24 goals last season for our 2 main strikers is not a good return but as I have said above, not too bad considering their limited game time. We have to hope for a better return this season.
Arteta’s vision seems to be moving away from Pep’s to a more total football style. All players to defend, win balls and participate in attacks. Pep has a generational player in Haaland, and he is as close to a pure striker as I have ever seen. The trend has been to move away from such players in favour of more all round players but Haaland’s numbers mean you can rely on him to score the goals and the other players can just give assists. They will be enough to keep the City machine winning. I suspect every team would love to have him. And we do have our own Norwegian genius in Odegaard.
No less than 15, Leandro
But we have to play with what we have, 2 flying wingers who can score, move inside, win balls and defend if necessary. Midfielders like Odegaard and Xhaka (read the guys mentioned above) who thunder forward and bag plenty of scores. And of course, Jesus and Nketiah. Nketiah is closer to Haaland in style but I feel that Arteta is right. We need variety, scores from everywhere, changes in style, a mix-em up approach to give final results better than City. Nketiah is not Haaland.
Don’t let me down
Despite Haaland’s astonishing numbers, we only finished 6 goals behind City last season and we were well ahead of all the rest. Arteta got a lot right. And the team looks better balanced all round with players ready to come in that won’t weaken the team. I am not happy with moving Tierney on but I have to assume that he does not work as Arteta wants him. Kyle Walker had such spells at City where Pep said he does not do what he wants but Walker kept coming back. I hope Tierney can do the same. To me he brings a better goal threat and is a better defender than Zinchenko. Arteta does not agree with me at the moment, but I hope that is why he is the manager, not me.
Be the first Portuguese to score 15 for us, Fabio
My conclusion is simple, we will not have a super scorer this season. We will need lots of guys to hit double figures or close, which should be a benefit of the total football approach that Arteta seems to be tweaking this season. I am pretty certain of one thing, though. Jesus and Nketiah will have to hit better numbers, and we could do with a mostly injury free time this year for those two guys. I have a feeling if that is so, that they will both have a similar number of total games as both get a run out most times. Strikers always get subbed. The different qualities both bring could be the key to a big season for us. The opposition will have to change tack every match as one or the other comes on. C’mon the Arsenal!