Football is a simple game. Score one more goal than the opponent and you take all the points. It is also a no-brainer to state that normally most goals are scored by the attack, followed by midfield and then defence.
So long-gone are the days of perfect harmony between midfield and attack of the first-third and second-third periods of the Wenger years. Goals from Henry and Bergkamp in attack and Vieira, Ljunberg and Pires in midfield just gave us the perfect balance. Then there was the period of Nasri, Cesc, Rosicky and Hleb adding goals to the attackers’ successes.
After that we started to struggle with goals from midfield positions, and these days we seldom get one from them.
Instead we rely heavily on our attackers and in particular on Aubameyang. Going forward, Arteta will have to re-establish that midfield/attack balance again… But who is going to score the goals from the central area?
Xhaka is no longer allowed to pull the trigger from well outside the box these days; Torreira seldom scores; Ozil has always been more the assister than the goal-scorer and now hardly ever scores; Guendouzi lacks power behind his shots but he is still young; Ceballos can dance with the ball but also misses that much-needed goal-killer-instinct. It is quite a dire story.
We had a midfielder who scored regularly – if and when he was fit and back to his best – in Ramsey, but he chose the zebra outfit to sit on the Turin-bench most of the time. Surprise, surprise there are now rumours of the Old Lady trying to make some money out of him by flogging the Welsh wizard back to the PL. You’ve got to laugh.
I really like it, though, that our young all-round wing-players – whether it is in defence, midfield or attack – Saka, Nelson and Martinelli have scored goals in their first half-proper season playing in the mighty red and white colours. They are in reality more attackers than midfielders but these areas are getting much closer to each other in the modern game, so we should be encouraged.
Yet we also need goals from the central midfield positions, and there is a player who is looking very promising: Super Joe(y) Willock. The boy (still to become 21) has all you wish for in a midfielder, it seems. I love his ability to dribble with the ball and his passing; then there is good height (186cm), athleticism and a strong central/upper core when running and combatting the oppositions’ midfielders.
But there is more. Not only does Joe score goals inside the box – regularly being at the right place and right time – he also likes to score goals from outside the box, which is such a rarity at Arsenal these days. He scored one in each half he played in during the recent friendlies; and the way he took his goals, one with his left foot and one with his right one, has really got me excited again.
I know, I know it is early days but maybe this time it will all come good. After so many recent desillusions – Diaby, Wilshere, Ramsey, etc – let’s have all our digits crossed that this one WILLock come good!