Arsenal’s Premier League title hinges on their forwards

Arsenal's Premier League title hinges on their forwards
(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The narrow margins by which Arsenal will win and lose this Premier League title battle were highlighted by their 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday. Financial restrictions and the conviction that Arsenal can overcome their current options will likely influence the Gunners’ decision to close the January transfer window without adding the attacking player many had demanded at the beginning.

When their top targets were priced out a year ago, Arsenal looked for less expensive options. However, this time, manager Mikel Arteta has decided to give his forwards the responsibility of unseating Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table, as they have deemed Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Wolves’ Pedro Neto out of reach.

The possibility that an imperfect addition will upset the current coherence is another factor influencing that decision. Arsenal’s attacking patterns are well-established, and they used a tried-and-true approach for extended periods of time here, monopolizing possession to the point that they had 81% of the ball in the first half. The most dangerous moment occurred two minutes before the half when Murillo unintentionally diverted Bukayo Saka’s close-range drive beyond custodian Matt Turner’s right-hand post. Despite this dominance, there was not a single shot on goal.

They had just defeated Crystal Palace 5-0 the previous game, but they were in danger of reverting to a problematic pattern that had led to a run of just one victory in seven games before Christmas, prompting calls for adding players to the roster. But in the end, Arteta’s confidence in his team and his sense of style paid off.

After Oleksandr Zinchenko’s throw-in in the 65th minute, Gabriel Jesus took advantage of Forest’s brief lack of focus to spin in behind and score past Turner from a tight angle. After seven minutes, Gonzalo Montiel gave Arsenal the ball and they quickly broke, with Saka grabbing a deft pass from Jesus and scoring quickly. The fact that they scored two goals from a counterattack and a throw-in instead of the kind of carefully thought-out play they had been pursuing the whole evening shows how flexible they will need to be in the coming months.

“We had to be patient, we didn’t allow them to run and we were able to generate chances in various ways which is pleasing,” Arteta added. “I think we showed a lot of maturity to control the game the way we had to.”

It brought back thoughts of the City Ground, a place where a championship race may be decided even before it begins. This was the location of Arsenal’s mathematical defeat against City in their matchup from the previous season, therefore players were especially motivated for their return to the Midlands.

The events of the previous year were still fresh in our minds, Arteta added. “We desired to make things right. I sensed that they were discussing it.

Visiting that changing area truly serves as a reminder. Both our bodies and minds are extremely intelligent, and they become very active under similar situations. They were genuinely engaged and had meaningful conversations about it. The team seemed incredibly talented to me.

Though Taiwo Awoniyi’s shot in the 89th minute demonstrated his strength and poise in the box, it did not stop a late wobble. Taiwo Awoniyi has now scored three goals in three games against Arsenal, continuing his incredible record. Chris Wood was replaced at halftime by Awoniyi, whose lack of speed allowed Arsenal to push so high up the pitch that Forest was confined for extended periods of time not just to their own half but practically into their own defensive third.

In his first club game since November 12, the Nigerian attacker transformed the attacking dynamic of the home team and nearly stole an unfair point during stoppage time.

Smith Emile In order to take advantage of the gaps that Arsenal could discover, Rowe was given his second league start of the year. However, it was Jesus who had the better chance to break the deadlock in the 57th minute, smashing a shot against the post from six yards out when it appeared easier to score. Even though it was difficult to shake the nagging impression that his wastefulness could have been punished by a team with more quality and effort than Forest could manage, Jesus’ link-up play was superb, and finishing the game with a goal and an assist was a reward for his perseverance.

In the end, Arteta had a different opinion, made even more so by Jesus’ determination to play for 78 minutes despite having fluid in his knee. Two days ago, Gabi began to win the game, Arteta stated. Everyone was trying to protect him because he had a knee problem and was telling him not to go outside. He did, however, say, [Matchday] -2, [Matchday] -1, I want to be there, I want to help the team win.” That kind of mindset will lead to positive outcomes. I’m rather happy with him.

When Arteta was obliged to step in and mediate a dispute between Zinchenko and Ben White full-time, he argued that the character he so desperately wanted had shown itself in a different way. Arteta was unhappy over giving up a goal that put three points that had long seemed secure in jeopardy.

He declared, I adore it. They’re asking more of one another. They are merely attempting to find a solution because they are unhappy with the way they gave in. Things got a little hot. But that implies that it’s sufficient. With the way we played, there had to be a greater outcome and a clean sheet.

The argument might have been another admission of the tightrope a title race can walk.

Credits: ESPN

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2 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Premier League title hinges on their forwards”

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