Scoring, scoring Arsenal: Arteta's Gunners are in red-hot goalscoring form - here's why

Thomas Dow takes a deep dive into Arsenal's red hot scoring run in this must-read piece

Scoring, scoring Arsenal: Arteta's Gunners are in red-hot goalscoring form - here's why

Could it be that Arsenal have had their blip and have timed their resurgence in form perfectly as Thomas Dow explains. PICTURE: Gooners show their support as the goals have been flying in during 2024. CREDIT: Offside

Scoring, Scoring Arsenal

It’s been a whirlwind turnaround for Mikel Arteta’s side.

Just six games ago, fans and the media alike were lamenting Arsenal’s lack of killer instinct and insisting that The Gunners needed to sign a striker to offset their lack of finishing ability.

Now though, Arsenal are in red-hot form and scoring seemingly at will.

After converting twice in the second half in the 4-1 win over Newcastle United, Arsenal set an unprecedented record of scoring 2+ goals in seven consecutive halves of football.

An impressive stat made all the more fearsome considering the criticism that they faced at the start of January. 

What Do The Stats Say?

So the question is, what has changed in that time?

In the six games prior to the turn of the year, Arsenal gained just seven points. They scored nine goals and conceded the same. Perhaps most interestingly though, they had a combined xG (expected goals) of 12.38 in that time.

What makes this stat all the more fascinating is that across those six games, they were only beaten on xG once against Liverpool in a 1-1 draw at Anfield, and that difference was marginal.

Now if we compare that with the last six games, it makes for all the better reading. Arsenal have got maximum points, scored 25 goals and conceded just three.

Their xG in that time is at a combined 16.56. The only negative in all that is that the three goals they have conceded have been completely avoidable.

Given that Arsenal have conceded just 2.21xG combined in those games, it is frustrating that we are still letting in more goals than we should. A minor criticism if we’re being honest, especially considering we have the tightest defence in the league.

Of course, the argument from many will be that xG doesn’t matter, and that is right to an extent. Ultimately it is irrelevant how many goals you should score if you simply don’t.

But what it does tell us is that Arsenal have consistently been creating big chances in games both before and after the New Year - they have just taken them in recent weeks. 

Minus A Recognised Striker

In the past four games, Arsenal have been operating without a traditional centre forward.

Gabriel Jesus has once again succumbed to injury and has been forced to have a spell on the sidelines with a knee problem. He returned to the bench against Newcastle United, but was not required such was the dominance of Arsenal.

Jesus has often been criticised for his wastefulness. A wonderful player no doubt, but not one that is likely to surpass goal-scoring records on a regular basis. The gap left by the Brazilian has been occupied by both Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz, with both showing their worth to Mikel Arteta in equal measure.

Is the fact that Arsenal’s goal scoring has improved substantially during this spell a coincidence?

Or has a slight change in system brought out the best in Arsenal’s attacking midfielders?

It really does remain to be seen. Arsenal do though have a far stronger squad with players like Jesus available, and with it, options.

In the coming weeks, Arsenal will be hoping to operate with an almost full squad. Thomas Partey, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takahiro Tomiyasu are all expected to return soon, with Jurrien Timber remaining the only long-term absentee.

It comes at a crucial time of the season, with Arsenal fighting for success on two fronts. There is no doubt that Areta will need a full array of options if he is to bring home either the Premier League or Champions League, with all likely to play a key role.

Season Finale

There is of course another argument that Arsenal have simply matured. Last season The Gunners wilted at the pivotal moment, just as Manchester City were coming good.

This season, could it be that Arsenal have had their blip and have timed their resurgence in form perfectly? Is this the beginning of the type of run we’ve seen in previous title winning campaigns?

In 1998, Arsenal won ten games on their way to the title. In 2002, it took 13 successive wins to clinch the league. Arsenal may have to produce a run that surpasses both of those to overhaul both Liverpool and Man City this time around.

With six on the spin already though, they’ve made the perfect start to the run-in.

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