Arsenal don’t need a new striker, they need to find a way to beat the low block..

Though many believe that the missing component in Arteta’s team this season is a clinical striker, Martin Odegaard suggests that this may not be the case. He believes it is Arsenal’s opponents having worked out how to counter Arteta’s tactics.

Last season, goal scoring wasn’t a major concern for Mikel Arteta; the two major issues were; who to fill in for Thomas Partey (when he was out injured, which is why the club, last January, tried to sign Moises Caicedo with three bids turned down by Brighton) and not having a capable replacement for William Saliba.

These two issues appear to have been resolved: Rice has altered the dynamics of Arsenal’s midfield; he has it covered (of which Partey will soon be back to be of use when called upon), and Saliba appears fit as a fiddle to have an injury-free season (even though Tomiyasu can successfully fill in for him, so hopefully nothing happens between now and when the Japanese international returns from the Asian games). That said, Arsenal’s problem this season has been being poor in front of goal. They’re not clinical, and while a striker signing has been suggested as a remedy, that may not be the case. A striker may join and still struggle.

Teams are now taking Arsenal seriously; they are willing to make sacrifices to let Arsenal dominate possession, but they play a defensive game with a low block. According to Odegaard in the Times: “After what we did last season and the beginning of this season, teams are analysing us and looking at what we’re doing in games,” he says. “They’re trying to stop us playing to our strengths. When I first came here in my first season and even at the start of last season the games we played were more open because teams wanted to come here and attack us and press high.

“It’s also about our quality, we make teams play deep because we have the ball a lot, but some teams are adapting as well. They know our strengths so a lot of teams are defending deep and trying to make it hard for us. I like that challenge. It’s a good sign to feel like teams are coming here and showing that they respect you. We just have to find different spaces and to play well enough to deal with it.”

So, whether Arsenal buy a new striker or not, Mikel Arteta must devise tactics to exploit a low-block defense. If his team is to increase intensity, or perhaps switch to a front 2, or another tactical move, he must devise a tactical maneuver that will allow them to rip those teams with a low block apart.

Signing a striker could be a step forward, but it may not be as effective as it should be if the Gunners struggle to break down teams defending with a low block.

Do you think Arteta can find a way to fix this?

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Tags Arsenal tactics low block odegaard


  1. We don’t have striker. It is in reality not possible to win the league without a goalscorer. Because both Saka and Martinelli are doubled up on and double marked, they 100% will not get the same amount of goals as last season. If we don’t have a Plan A/B striker we are screwed. Sell Nketiah and Kiwior, buy Ivan Toney and spread the finances. We NEED a striker or we are finished. I can see Auntyteta not being at Arsenal next season. No such thing a ‘RESET’

    1. Saka and Martinelli have become easy to combat for two reasons.Firstly, without natural attacking full backs who can overlap and divert opposition defenders it becomes relatively easy for them to double up on our wide men.Secondly, having to double back on to their stronger foot makes them entirely predictable and opponents can plan accordingly during their training sessions.Switching out wingers to their natural side would be a first step towards giving opposition defenders food for thought.I have read a lot concerning the numerous chances we have created of late, but in reality, very few clear cut opportunities have arisen in my opinion.I am never influenced in any way by the dialogue spouted by media pundits many of whom have failed in Management and lack real intelligence.As for the need for a top quality striker, I think we all recognise this weakness but as we are dicing with FFP limits our priority in this window ought to be to bring in a proper left back, on loan if necessary.Oh I forgot we had a good left back but our Manager, in his wisdom decided to send him to sunny San Sebastian which I have to say is a lovely place.

      1. Grandad, what you are stating so well would seem quite obvious to anyone who has a good knowledge of football and has an independence of mind. I would love to know what MA’s honest reaction (away from the cameras and ownership oversight) would be to the fundamental ideas you expressed since we are on the outside trying to look in. He may have very good reasons for what he’s doing (or trying to do) on our flanks but the results are clearly not what are required to go forward successfully. It seems to me that he has over complicated many things while striving for a better result. Players want clarity and to be able to do the things they do best and see results for their efforts. For better or worse, the next several months should be interesting.

    2. Liverpool won the league without an out-and-out striker. Firmino didn’t score much that season, and I think may have either scored none or just one goal in the league at Anfield, yet played a pivotal role.

      We have the players to score the goals (last season our attack did more than enough to win the league), it’s just that ALL our forwards are out of form at the same time.

      1. I do take your point Jen and it is a bad (for us) coincidence that all three are misfiring at the same time. The point I would make is that Liverpool had Mo Salah and Sadio Mane both clinical finishers. That said, I don’t think it’s beyond us to get back into contention because Liverpool are definitely beatable but City are now a different proposition with de Bruynne, Doku and soon, Haaland back. They are still the team to beat.

  2. I won’t bother reading this opinion piece..I personally don’t think it even deserves discussing.
    Anyone who thinks Arsenal doesn’t need a striker, but a tactical adjustment is delusional and has no sense to apply on the game of football he/she watches. Maybe they think it’s similar to Sunday football or the under-6 league.🙆🏽‍♂️🙆🏽‍♂️🙆🏽‍♂️

    1. You won’t “bother reading” or “discussing” the article, yet here you showing some insight and giving an opinion on the article you’ve not read😜

        1. Jax, As I often say, misunderstandings occur when someone has not the ability to use English correctly.. I agree

          Oi Admin COMMENT— Jon. We are NOT the grammar police are we?

          1. Jax You and I part company on this, YOUR too harsh and unnecessary post.
            I accept that HIS original post was also unkind, but two wrongs do not make a right.
            As for wishing for word perfect posts, hardly any on here are ever word perfect, even from natural English speakers, not even my own posts, sometimes.

          2. “Overseas”? Or non English as first language users? Not necessarily the same thing.
            I would suggest in all seriousness that the fact he plainly HAD read the article, despite saying(incorrectly) that “he wont bother reading it” is sufficient evidence of his non English as first language status!

            1. Jon I think it’s plain he wrote what he meant that he didn’t read the article as he has a choice to if he wishes so.

              1. HH Did you not notice that he commented on an article he claimed not to have read? Only a magician could do THAT!

                To me, what is obvious is that his English is NOT that of a natural English speaker , hence his incorrect use of words.

          3. Ad PAT,I was simply making a fair mindedir and rational point to JAX about not expecting a non English first language speaker to write perfect English, asit is NOT FAIR AND NOT KIND.

            The opposite of grammar police in actuality, in allowing fair minded language errors. You should think about treating me as you do manay others when you leave them alone but pick on me. Not good!
            IF you cared to read ALL my posts to JAX you would see my TRUE POSITION, SO WHY NOT DO SO AND THEN COMMENT, once you properly understand the point I REALLY SAID?

            1. Jon, many of us on this platform are not first language speakers of English. We just learnt it at school. Besides, many of those whose first language is English are not necessarily the best at usage of the language. In my lower secondary school, we had a British Biology teacher whose English was so bad that we used to regularly criticise him even though English was not our first language. English is an international language which transcends national boundaries, hence no one group can claim to have the best command of that language. Furthermore, inability to express oneself in English should not be a measure of wisdom.

        1. There should be a Godwin’s type law for anyone who uses the word “delusional” on a football blog.

          1. I think the midfield players and our wingers are over carrying the ball instead of releasing it to strikers who make runs on time. Also a game can pass when we have had just two croses or none into the penalty area from the wings. Then we concede goals easily. Our players don’t press enough when we don’t have the ball to cause enough mistakes from the opponents. Also they don’t utilise counter attack opportunities.

          2. Your delusional for suggesting that Jax😂😂😂
            I often spend hours with my dictionary working out what Jon’s saying, especially when he uses what seems like a very old typewriter that spells out words I’m sure never existed anyway 🙃🙄🤔
            Love it when Pat and Jon start sparring, trouble is neither one EVER delivers the knock out punch!!

            1. A modern computer standard keyboard actually KEN.
              And the words are becaise of my excellent English education. I try not to use words that no one else will easily understand, though I do use most English words and cannot be held responsible for CERTAIN others lack of English ability, saving only NON first language English speakers , with whom I am patient, naturally.

              I do have to chuckle sometimes at such as SAMUELS English but he does his best all the same

  3. Arsenal has 1 goal in their last 61 shots. They are countering the low block, at least to some extent. Unfortunately the forwards are collective playing substandard football.

  4. We forget Jesus has spent most of his professional career as a winger at city. He came to us because we were going to give him the forward spot. It may be time to accept Jesus is more efficient from the wing. We do need a striker or we need give Eddie the opportunity to nail it down. Jesus could operate in Havertz role as a shadow striker.

    Our biggest problem is we spend way to much time going sideways. Our attacks should be quick pinpoint aggressive direct. At minute we trying walk ball into the net

    1. This is one of those myths that builds over time – he played occasionally on the wing at City, but played up front the vast majority of the time (you can look it up on transfer market. com). He was open to playing on the wing to increase his playing time, but city had specialists who could do that job better, so he didn’t end up doing it that much, it seems.
      He started his career as a striker, and that’s still what he does best. Unfortunately, it seems he’s a hugely talented player who isn’t suited to the *lone* cf role. I believe he’s one of those who could have been brilliant as a striker in the old 442 system, but isn’t able to fully adapt to the newer 433 systems.
      I think that’s what happened with Walcott – born striker in the anelka mould (far better finisher than jesus), but the game changed as he was coming through and he could only adapt to an extent.

      1. Great observation Davi, but did you know that Theo had better stats from his Arsenal career than the great George Armstrong?

        1. Not possible to show stats for consistent ferocious hard work , compared to lack of it, back then eh KEN!!

          Geordie was IMO, the single most hard working player we have ever had.

          Walcott probably the third ever laziest we have had.

          1. Please respect Walcott. Fans must not have a habit of just saying bad things when its not even true. I guess you are the most hard working at your workplace. Walcott did very good for us and he was very professional.

        2. I’m not surprised, he did score a lot of goals, they just tended to come in short bursts – he also played with some great attacking midfielders like fabregas. Unfortunately wasn’t consistent.
          I do believe he would have been remembered at least as well as someone like Michael Owen had he played a few years earlier when 442 was still popular.

  5. Ok say we get a good clinical striker and he scores goals created by our attacking play, how does that fix Odeggard, saka, martinelli and havertz terrible finishing this season. We’ve scored 1 goal from 6.3 expected goals in the last 3 games, that is utterly ridiculous.

  6. If the opposing teams have now found a way to neutralize our game, then that’s a loud call for an Option B. That’s where the need for a target No.9 becomes imperative.
    It’s not every time you want to outplay the opposition through the middle; we should also be able for float balls from the sides for the strikers to attack. That’s the variety that makes great teams.
    So yes, we do need a striker to also help convert the load of chances we create.

  7. We absolutely need a striker, but a striker will not be the panacea to all our problems. I have no clue who we can get in the January window or even if we will seriously try to get someone. I think we will have to turn it around with players we have and wait until the summer.

    1. oh my, yes, his play was beyond belief. I saw him in person on a few occasions when he was with the Cosmos in NY (I was also a Tampa Bay Rowdies fan in the old NASL). Even as an opposing fan, his play was a pleasure to behold.

    2. He and Bobby Moore – wonderful players who were perfect examples of professional footballers.
      Sorely missed. RIP.

  8. Its been coming for while, to a few of us, that the team, tactics and build up are not working. We are so disjointed, slow and out of balance as a team and squad, it frightening. The goalkeeper, the RB and LBs are not functioning. The midfield is (with the exception of Rice and Odergaard) not functioning as it should. The Wide players are struggling and the striker situation is a joke. But, Hey, apart from that the team looks good. I think we need to spend some money. OH WAIT……

  9. If Arteta plays Partey and Rice in the midfield, the froward line will function well. Therefore signing a midfielder with Partey’s profile is the first thing before a striker.

    Unfortunately with the Arrival of Rice, Arteta truned around and instead played Partey at the defence. Something is not right with this manager.

    Kai havertz will surely help him to leave Aresenal. The experiment is failing everywhere he plays him. He is clearly a lopehole. Try him as attacking midfielder from the bench. Try Smith Rowe with Rice instead

  10. I think Grandad has clearly stated the most important issues regarding our lack of forward thrust and lack of clear cut scoring opportunities. As a gentleman he isn’t pointing the finger of blame directly at our manager but it doesn’t take Einstein like perception to know that he is the one making these choices. I’m actually in two minds ( or three )about going all out for a striker this window. Firstly the cost and availability of a top class player, secondly how much of this goal drought is due to our players and how much is down to Arteta’s selections and tactics. Further more, can we afford to splurge on a hot and cold Aubamayang type who can win you a big game but can also go to sleep for long periods or the opposite a battering ram like Toney who could restrict your style but cause opposition defenders to make panicky errors. I guess considering the above, and the importance of not throwing away the season I would commit to signing Toney providing it doesn’t mean having to give up Smith Rowe who could still offer so much in the future.

  11. Pig will grow wings and learn to fly BEFORE slow, boring and predictable Artetaball beats the low block! Trust me.

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