50 goals from our first choice attackers and nr10:
surely enough to win the title?!
I reckon we lost the league last year because it was the Foxes’ year. Leicester Cinderella City became the neutrals’ favourite to win the title: a collective wishful thinking on and off the pitch made it happen, and there was little that could have been done about it, it seems. Yet, we have to look at ourselves and judge where we could have done better to at least come a lot closer than the ten point gap the Foxes managed to establish between us and them.
LC scored only three more goals than us (68) and conceded the same number of goals (36), yet they lost only three games whilst we were on the losing side seven times. They won 11 of their 19 away games whereas we only managed to win eight away from home. Both teams won the same number of home games but Arsenal lost three times whereas the Foxes only lost the one game at home… the one that matters most to us, though 😉 .
Losing four more games than LC is what made the difference of course, and this had all to do with efficiency. The goals for and against are almost the same, but the Foxes’ shift towards a more Italian, defensive style of play in the second part of the season saw them collect points on a massive scale through a mean defence and a spluttering but still not totally dead attack. Most importantly, they had two major goal threats in Vardy (24 PL goals) and Mahrez (17 PL goals), and when one was struggling to find the net the other would not; how different from Arsenal in the second part of the season!
We also needed to be more secure in defence; especially in the second part of the season we gave away too many winning positions, or made it really hard for ourselves by conceding first through careless defending, which cost us dearly. But that is for another post.
When Ollie went through a drought, the likes of Alexis, Ozil and Theo did not fill the gap, and that is what needs to be addressed this season. Ozil is of course our assists king and with six PL goals and 19 assists (121 PL minutes between goals/assists on average), I am just hoping he will score a few more and replicate the assists tally in the coming season.
Alexis had a relatively quiet season with 13 goals and four assists (144 PL minutes between goals/assists on average) but yet he did his part to some extent. Giroud did his bit to a large extent in the role of ‘Holding Striker/ attack enabler and finisher’ with 16 goals and 6 assists (110 PL minutes between goals/assists on average). Unless Wenger decides to play a different system of football, which I very much doubt, Ollie will be leading the line once again with the same job description he was given in the last few seasons (it never stops to amaze me how very few people seem to [want to] grasp this, especially in the media, but there you go).
We all know that it stops there, with neither Theo (5 goals and 2 assists/ 196 minutes between goals/assists on average), or Danny, Ox or Joel delivering the goods from the right (or centre), due to a variety of reasons. Rather than choosing a beast of a traditional CF, I reckon Wenger will be looking to strengthen the right side of our attack as to get more balance in the team and reach a total of say 50 PL goals from our three first choice attackers and nr.10. He may be tempted to hope either Iwobi, Ox or Campbell will break through but this is a big risk to take; and he knows it.
The rumours re Mahrez continue and it is obvious why Wenger would like to add this gem of an Algerian to the first team. He can play on the right and with 17 goals and 11 assist (109 PL minutes between goals/assists on average) he would help us to re-balance the attack and make it a lot more lethal. If Ozil, Giroud and Alexis score the same number of goals next season as they did in the previous one, and Mahrez manages to score 15 for us, we would score 50 PL goals from our first choice attackers and nr.10. Surely that would swing things in our favour massively? You may say Mahrez will not have another season like that, which may be true, but I also reckon that Alexis is capable to come close to 20 PL goals in the coming season, which would balance things out.
Whether it will be Mahrez or another player who can complete the attacking ‘dream team’ remains to be seen, but it just feels like the Algerian is the perfect fit for our team. The likes of Iwobi, Campbell, Ox and possibly Theo will play a role in the wider squad but, ideally, we add a proven PL goals and assists star to the team to avoid periods of goal droughts and improve our chances to win the title dramatically.