Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been told there is only player in the side not doing all required of him and his lack of end product could ultimately cost the club their title chance.
Mikel Areteta’s side claimed a 2-0 win at Wolves on Saturday night to complete an incredible start to the campaign. Coupled with Manchester City’s surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Brentford, it means the Gunners are five points clear at the top. And with the season now breaking for World Cup action, Arsenal will be top of the table at Christmas.
Arsenal’s transformation under Arteta is certainly impressive. They have now won 12 of their 14 matches played, with just one defeat – at Manchester United – to their name.
And hopes are growing that Arsenal can continue that form from Boxing Day onwards and complete an incredible title surge.
However, it was not all delight for Arsenal at Molineux Stadium. Their 2-0 win, courtesy of a Martin Odegaard double, saw Gabriel Jesus go another game without registering a goal.
He did have the ball in the back of the net, only to be flagged for offside.
But that is now 11 games without a goal for Arsenal now – and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink fears that lack of output in front of goal could cost them their ultimate shot at glory.
In Jesus’ defence, Hasselbaink does acknowledge the good things he does do for the side. But he has explained why he needs to rediscover his goals touch once the season resumes.
Hasselbaink bemoans Gabriel Jesus lack of goals
“I’ve always said about Jesus, it’s a brilliant signing but it’s not a signing for 25 goals,” Hasselbaink told Sky Sports. “He’s not going to score 25 goals. At the moment they don’t need it, but they are going to go later on in the season to where you are going to have games where you have only one chance and then you want your number nine to be a killer and put it away.
“Majority of the time you need a striker, and I am not talking because I am a striker, but you need a striker that can score 25-30 goals a season, the majority of the teams that win the league have got somebody that can score those figures in the 20s.”
After the match, Arteta was also asked about Jesus’ barren patch. And while not ignoring the question, the Gunners boss was instead quick to praise all his good work.
He said: “We’re feeling it for him because his work is invaluable. But this is where we are. The love that his teammates and coaching staff have for him speaks for itself and hopefully he feels that.”
Arteta also admitted Arsenal had to overcome a sickness bug to collect all three points at Molineux.
Indeed, Granit Xhaka was substituted in msyerious fashion just 16 minutes into the match. And now it’s emerged that a number of Arsenal stars were all feeling ill, having all eaten the same pre-match meal.
Arsenal sickness bug forced Granit Xhaka substitution
“[Xhaka] wasn’t feeling good, he was sick and he could not carry on,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “Unfortunately, we have another four players with the same symptoms. So, I don’t know what exactly happened.
“There were a few players who were not feeling great. Obviously, we can make three or four substitutions at that period. The good thing is that under any context with difficultly, away from home every three days, [the players] still come here and manage to play well.”
Arteta is right. If Arsenal were affected by a sickness bug, it’s fair to say that did not derail their game-plan. Arsenal were deserving winners at Molineux and can look forward to resuming their campaign with a Boxing Day game against West Ham.