January 13th, Anfield. Liverpool 3 – 3 Arsenal.
When Olivier Giroud scored Arsenal’s 3rd in the 55th minute, it was our 7th goal since the turn of the year, following another 3 against Sunderland in the cup, and a one nil win at home to Newcastle.
Since that date, Arsenal have played 7 games. Scoring just 6 goals.
In those 7 games, we have scored in just 3 of them, Leicester, Bournemouth and Burnley.
Arsenal at the moment are having a major problem hitting the back of the net. The statistics make grim reading.
It is not for the want of trying. We have 112 shots in that period. That averages out at 16 shots a game. Or 19 shots a goal.
In four of the games, the BBC have named the goal keeper as Man of the Match. But this betrays the truth.
Whilst all 4 did have excellent games, and all made key saves to ensure they kept a clean sheet, Arsenal’s strikers did not exactly work them hard. Many of the shots ended up straight down the keepers throat.
Yesterday against Hull was a perfect example. Eldin Jakupovic. Of the 11 shots on target, from memory (and I might be wrong, I think I am still drunk) only two really pushed him as a keeper.
The free kick brilliantly tipped onto the post from Joel Campbell, and Danny Welbeck’s deflected shot. The rest of the shots on target were straight at him. I would be disappointed to have let any of them in.
And it was the same against Leicester, Southampton & Stoke. Plenty of shots straight at the keeper. We made them look good.
Individual players go through struggles in front of goal throughout their career – unless you play in Spain. But it seems that our goal scorers have synced their poor form.
Olivier Giroud has failed to score since that 55th minute strike against Liverpool. It is his longest goalless run since he went 8 games without a goal at the back end of last season. He does not look like ending it any time soon.
Having been our star player last season, Alexis Sanchez has been in awful form this. His shot in the second half which was closer to hitting me (block 11, 19 rows back) than hitting the back of the net. It summed up both his season, and Arsenal’s current form. He has just 3 goals in his last 16 games for club and country.
Moving on to Theo Walcott. Yesterday his over all play was atrocious. His place in the Arsenal side is clearly under threat, as the right hand side is definitely somewhere we can improve next season. He is currently doing nothing to put his name in the hat to start next year. In his last 19 games, he has just 2 goals.
Having scored 16 goals in 2013/14, and 11 in 2014/15, Aaron Ramsey has just 5 this season. And only 2 in his last 11 games. Another key contributor unable to score a goal.
Joel Campbell & Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have contributed 4 goals this season to The Arsenal. Frankly not good enough for a team that so often plays on the front foot.
Even our creators are not scoring. Mesut Ozil. In his last 12 games, he has just 2 goals. He creates a lot, but with just 6 goals in 35 games this season is not good enough for someone his talent.
And then we come on to Santi Cazorla. Yes, he has been injured since November, so can not be blamed for the current dearth in Arsenal goals, but even before his injury, he had not been a threat going forward.
In fact, Cazorla’s last goal for Arsenal was a year ago today. A penalty against Crystal Palace. That is a run of 37 games without a goal. If you take out penalties and free kicks, he has just 1 goal since 28th January 2014. That is one goal from open play in over 2 years.
Cazorla has not just lost his shooting boots. He has burnt them in a barrel, given the ashes to Tim Peake who released them into space when on the International Space Station, never to be seen again.
Since conceding 3 against Liverpool, we have conceded just 3 in the proceeding 7 games, keeping 4 clean sheet along the way.
Whilst we were goal shy against Hull yesterday, at no point did we look like conceding, keeping them to just 1 shot on target.
Hopefully, sooner rather than later, it all clicks into place. The chances we are creating hit the back of the net, and we keep it tight at that back. That will win us games, win us the league, win us the FA Cup.
Arsenal have a problem upfront. And it does not look like being resolved any time soon.