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Fantastic Arsenal is scoring goals at a rapid pace; does Mikel Arteta require another striker?

Over the winter, resentful Gooners began to see parallels with the January 2022 transfer window. Two years ago, Mikel Arteta’s team was denied Champions League football, Dusan Vlahovic was wearing the black and white of Juventus, and entreaties for the chequebook to be opened on a new attacking talisman were met with disinterest.

In 2024, the number-nine controversy is still a contentious transfer topic at Emirates Stadium. This is because, despite rumors of a bold summer transfer for Ivan Toney of Brentford and Victor Osimhen of Napoli, two players who are undoubtedly on the move, Arteta and sporting director Edu stuck with their current offensive options.

Arsenal’s quiet January was likely influenced by treading the Financial Fair Play line following last summer’s £200 million spending binge, but unlike in 2022, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left the team under dubious circumstances and Alexandre Lacazette’s abilities declined, nets are rippling at a record-breaking rate.

After giving up five goals at a time to Brighton & Hove Albion (twice) and Aston Villa in their previous three home games, Chris Wilder’s basement boys were set to face the free-scoring Gunners on Monday. It’s possible that even the most optimistic Sheffield United supporter may have accepted another brawl at Bramall Lane.

By the time the fireworks for 2024 were lit, their colleagues in the capital had never won a Premier League away game by six goals or more. Arteta’s men have already accomplished that twice in the first three months of this year.

A significant moment occurred on Monday evening for both Arsenal and English football, as the Gunners convincingly defeated Sheffield United in the first half with goals from Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz, and Gabriel Martinelli.

Jayden Bogle’s back-heel own goal added to the overwhelming defeat, with Arsenal scoring five goals in the first half of an away game in the top division for the first time in their illustrious history. They appeared capable of scoring with every attack against the struggling Sheffield United defense.

Arsenal’s desire for more continued in the second half, with Ben White scoring a precise left-footed goal to secure another impressive away win. This victory made Arsenal the first team in England’s top four divisions to win three consecutive away matches by a margin of five goals or more. They also became only the second team, after Burnley in the 1961–62 season, to score at least five goals in three consecutive matches.

Arsenal has scored 68 goals, the highest in the Premier League after 27 games, and has a goal difference of +45, the best in the division, keeping them in third place behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

Arsenal’s impressive defensive performance, conceding only 23 goals and an average of 0.31 expected goals (xG) in their seven-match winning streak in the Premier League, has raised questions about the need for a new attacking player this summer.

Gooners requested additional attacking players when Arsenal struggled to win, with only one victory in seven games from December 9 to January 7, resulting in just five goals scored during that period.

Arsenal made significant efforts in both matches but failed to score despite having numerous shots and touches in the opposition’s box. They had 30 shots and 77 touches in the West Ham box in a 2-0 loss and 18 attempts on goal in an FA Cup defeat to Liverpool.

Arsenal spent several days in a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, where the sun seemed to boost their goal-scoring abilities. After this training, Arsenal, who had previously struggled with attacking confidence and precision, scored five goals in a single 90-minute match against Crystal Palace.

Nottingham Forest, Liverpool, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Burnley, and Sheffield United have all conceded goals to Arteta’s team. They have scored 31 goals in seven Premier League games in 2024 and reached 300 goals in Arteta’s 161st top-flight game in charge. Only Manuel Pellegrini, Pep Guardiola, and Jurgen Klopp achieved this milestone in fewer games.

Arteta emphasized to the press that his players should never feel completely content in the Premier League. His team, which scored six goals against Sheffield United on the anniversary of Reiss Nelson’s crucial goal against Bournemouth, appears to be a ruthless and relentless force that will not show mercy to any opponent, regardless of the level of competition.

A variety of variables have contributed to Arsenal overcoming their scoring difficulties. Arsenal did not score from a dead-ball situation on Monday, but they still lead the Premier League in set-piece goals, having scored 18 times from such scenarios.

Bukayo Saka, who left the game at half time due to illness and has not scored in six consecutive Premier League matches, had a positive impact after the winter break by assisting two goals at Bramall Lane. This brought his total assists for his club to 50 and marked his involvement in a goal for the eighth consecutive Premier League game.

Havertz, who has struggled to excel in London, is now showing his worth by scoring three goals and providing two assists in his last three Premier League matches. Meanwhile, Martinelli has made six out of his 10 top-flight contributions this season after the winter break.

Gabriel Jesus has not regained his previous form after his knee injury during the World Cup, while Eddie Nketiah, who occasionally shows bursts of good form, is once again on the sidelines. The discussion about the center-forward position is still important, with Belgian Leandro Trossard, who has scored 10 goals, and captain Odegaard, known for his consistent left-footed shots into the bottom corner, also being strong contenders.

Seventeen experienced Arsenal players have scored goals in the 2023-24 season, and Arsenal’s transfer issues are not limited to the attacking third. Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey, and Jorginho may leave. If Karl Hein and Arthur Okonkwo are not ready, a new goalkeeper may be needed if Aaron Ramsdale is tired of being the backup to David Raya.

Arsenal’s defensive depth will improve with the return of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jurrien Timber, and Oleksandr Zinchenko from injury. However, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes currently lack sufficient backup in the central defense position, with Jakub Kiwior filling in at full-back.

Edu did not win the Best European Director Award at the 2023 Golden Boy award without reason, and the former Arsenal Invincible will undoubtedly remain vigilant for the ideal offensive chance. Those who are still requesting a new striker may rightfully refer to Arsenal’s ineffective performance in the Champions League where they lost 1-0 to Porto, as well as the vulnerabilities of Burnley and Sheffield United in defense.

Scoring goals from different sources and approaches as the weather becomes warmer means Arsenal should not prioritize recruiting a new striker this summer, regardless of their plans for the Premier League title.

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