Arsenal suffered yet another defeat in the Premier League on Sunday. The loss to Tottenham is our sixth of the season already and that has pushed us down to 15th in the table.
The Gunners dominated the possession and limited Spurs just to just three shots on target in the entire game. Sadly, they scored with two of their shots and that was enough to kill off the game even before the second half started.
Mikel Arteta knows very well that we are struggling for creativity in the final third. The Spaniard has had to come up with a very weird tactic to solve our issues in front of goal – something he wouldn’t have to do if Mesut Ozil wasn’t left out for ‘football reasons’.
Arteta: Crossing is the way forward
Arsenal attempted 44 crosses in the derby yesterday – the most by any team in a Premier League game so far this season. We tried 33 in our last league game against Wolves as well, but that didn’t work either, did it?
However, Arteta seems adamant that it’s the way forward. The Arsenal boss hinted in his post-match press conference yesterday that we will continue to bombard the box with crosses and he feels that we will win games through that.
Arteta was asked if he has the right players to deliver that many crosses and the Arsenal boss said: “Yeah. You could see from the chances we’ve created as well. A cross doesn’t mean just an aerial cross.”
“There were a lot of good parts where we penetrated the penalty box on numerous occasions, just to find the last pass or the final ball and the goal came through, we didn’t hit it, they blocked it – it was a lot of things to happen.”
“If we generate it every week we will win football matches. At the moment it looks like we need to do a lot to score a goal.” (Football London)
Theoretically, Arteta has a point. More crosses into the box means more problems for opposition defenders which in turn gives us opportunities to score. However, what looks good on the drawing board doesn’t always work on the pitch.
Stats show that crossing isn’t the way forward for Arsenal
In the Premier League this season, Arsenal have attempted 225 crosses – only Leeds and West Ham United have more. When it comes to the accuracy, the Gunners rank 18th in the division with a shambolic success rate of a little under 17%.
Crosses from set-pieces were also massively disappointing. Willian took eight corners but seven of them missed an Arsenal man. The only one that was accurate was a short pass to Dani Ceballos in the second half.
Crossing from wide areas isn’t a bad strategy in general. However, you need the right players to execute it. West Ham, Leeds and Sheffield United are among the top four crossers in the league and they have giants in Sebastien Haller, Patrick Bamford and Oli McBurnie to get on the end of those balls.
Arsenal have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette who have scored a combined seven headed goals in their Gunners career. Arteta isn’t playing the duo to their strengths and that is exactly why they are struggling to score goals.
The Gunners boss believes that more crosses will result in more chances in the upcoming games. However, his math isn’t adding up at the moment, and unless he can bring Olivier Giroud back, he should look for a more productive way to create chances.