Goalscoring midfielders pose Arsenal striking dilemma

Aaron Ramsey, Samir Nasri and Alex Song helped put thoughts on signing a striker on the back burner by scoring in the 4-1 defeat to Portsmouth.

Behind the scenes, the mantra has been all about continuously improving. Two 4-1 defeats to Portsmouth, home and away and twice the difference had been made by Arsenal’s ever growing in stature and confidence, midfielders applying themselves tactically. The second half of the season is, as Sir Alex Ferguson puts it when experience counts more exponentially and Arsène Wenger will be delighted as to how his young midfielders have been coming along. Particularly as they have tipped the balance a little on whether the club is actually in need of signing another forward when all but a few weeks ago that looked a certainty.

“We have players who move the ball well and everybody gets in dangerous positions,” commented Wenger after the game. “And that’s why, with the confidence high, everyone can score goals. But we are still in the market.”

The slight apprehension has been caused due to the number of goals put in by the side since their loss to Chelsea where they have only dropped two points. At Burnley, the side missed the influence of Cesc Fabregas as he departed with an injury and then witnessed his importance in his return by helping to dismantle Aston Villa. But overall their approach play has been of a high quality but it is when the going gets tough, the feeling is the side may need a bit more variety and unpredictability to help cut open opponents. Two dynamic moments assisted in defeating Liverpool while with all the neat interplay at Hull and Aston Villa, it were free-kicks which were the turning points of both games. And despite Arsenal profiting from another to put them in front at Portsmouth, there was never any doubt of the result.

The home side backed off in many instances and allowed Arsenal time to play and crucially get behind and beyond the defence. After Eduardo had put them in front with a cruelly deflected free-kick, Arsenal’s natural game began to flow. Samir Nasri finished off a good move by burying a shot into the bottom corner as Ramsey and Eduardo shuffled the ball expertly away from their markers. Ramsey added a comprehensive third before Nadir Belhadj had pulled one back for Portsmouth but Song had the last word by powerfully heading a cross by Nasri. The Cameroon ace once again had a fantastic game and the confidence he exudes in possession has become such a key fixture in the side.

The support Arsenal’s midfielders provided to Arshavin was the key complementer to their passing game and possibly what had eluded them in a period of acclimatisation after Robin van Persie’s injury. A presence is still needed as it can be argued the Gunners will become over reliant on movement and moments of dynamism to open up teams but if the midfielders can continuing pitching in and creating goals, it would put the team in a good position come Nicklas Bendtner’s return from injury.

Portsmouth 1-4 Arsenal: Eduardo 27, Nasri 42, Ramsey 69, Belhadj 74, Song 81.

Portsmouth: Begovic, Finnan, Kaboul, Ben-Haim, Hreidarsson,
Yebda, Mokoena, Hughes, Belhadj, Boateng, Piquionne. Subs: Ashdown, Diop, Brown, Utaka, Vanden Borre, Kanu, Wilson.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore, Ramsey, Song Billong, Diaby, Nasri (Eastmond), Eduardo (Rosicky), Arshavin (Vela). Subs not used: Fabianski, Silvestre, Wilshere, Merida.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

Portsmouth Team Statistics Arsenal
1 Goals 4
0 1st Half Goals 2
4 Shots on Target 6
5 Shots off Target 5
3 Blocked Shots 8
2 Corners 10
16 Fouls 3
5 Offsides 4
2 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
68.8 Passing Success 83.2
21 Tackles 27
76.2 Tackles Success 66.7
34.1 Possession 65.9
47.8 Territorial Advantage 52.2


14 thoughts on “Goalscoring midfielders pose Arsenal striking dilemma

  1. You cant base these results and finalise your analysis against teams that are bottom of the table..

    If you look at the result it would look like a 4-1 win was great and made arsenal look unstoppable… but… at least two thirds of this game was a very scrappy and uninspirational game.

    The gunners have to play a lot better than this to beat teams at the other end of the scale and judging so far on our performances against chelsea, man u , man city we need a lot of improvement.

    We get far less opportunities with those clubs and we need strikers that know how to do the job when its required.

    If Arsenal dont buy a class striker i dont beleive we can win the title this season.. and thats being realistic.

    1. you make it sound as if we created 500 chances at Pompey. Look at the stats, 6 shots on target, 5 off target. Didn’t chelsea attempt something like 30 shots altogether at Birmingham? How many did they score? And they had a good team.

      And while I agree the game was scrappy, you can’t deny that Arsenal were the better team and that 4-1 was more than a deserving scoreline. We might have lost out on the tackle count by a small amount but look we made more tackles and that for me shows desire. the sort that makes champions?

      1. Wrong dude.. i thought the game at pompey was quite pathetic to watch and i DIDNT say anything about creting 500 chances at goal.

        People can really misinterperate what others say cant they..

        Yes we were the better team but agianst pompey thats not saying anything.

  2. Dude we can only beat who they put in front of us.meanwhile you seem to forget we have beaten all pretenders to the top four.I would like some signings but they are not a must for us if we retain our self belief.

  3. Man u won the PL last season without beating any of the other top 4 teams, but they hoovered up the points against the lesser lights often winning 1 – 0 in the process. None of their fans complained about that. At the end of the day you get the same 3 points whoever you beat. The importance of games like the one the other night is that we went to a tough place, with a dodgy pitch, passionate home support and a relegation threatened team fighting for their lives on a cold December night and we did a professional job to get the points. The confidence that comes from that sort of performance is invaluable. Remember they beat Liverpool there and Chelsea were lucky to escape with 3 points, so there was always a risk of a slip up. Oh and for good measure we are also missing some of our best players. Taken in context, that was a great win.

    1. Man u won last season because they won more games and lost fewer than anyone else..not hard to realise is it??

      And with saying that..chelsea , liverpool lost against each other as well.. so u cant just say that manu won the title on your analysis..

      get real man..look at the player content and experience on the top 4 teams.. We dont come close but we still do well because we have a good overall balance..and Wenger creates that very well i believe..

      BUT…if u want to win trophies seriously.. u need better players.. and im not talking about 6 signings dude.. just 1 or 2 to cover the spots where u need them..

      ie: V.P out for the rest of the year..and Bentdner is not quite ready yet.. so what do u do??

      u buy a 1 quality striker.. thats all..plain and simple.

      1. Oh and i will say it again..if u cant beat portsmouth then u really have problems..

        Dont base your analysise because pompey had 2 good results..

        So did arsenal before they met chelsea..i think itwas 5 in a row for us..then we got thumped on our own turf.. explain that man!!!

  4. who are this better players really?listen in terms of attacking players no team comes close to arsenal. defensive players yes arsenal are low in reserve.arsenal have played 2 months without there their leading yet they have refound their goalscoring touch. people read too much into chelsea result just one game at the end of the day and the team and crucially was still groping in the dark after rvp injury and plan b nb52 injured.
    people underrate arsenal players coz they dont have huge pricetags . are gibson,mikel or anderson really an upgrade on denilson / ramsey.if u remove remove rooney and berbatov manu best players are 35 and 36 yrs old.arshavin and nasri are realy poorer than nani and valencia or malouda and deco?nb52 scored more goals than tevezand same as berba last year.
    the major diff between arsenal and this teams is that they have won trophies recently which puts an dextra spring in their step.did spain have crap players before euro 2008.go watch them before and after. that is what comes with winning.that is what arsene has to drive his team towards. p.s get a new keeper.thhat is crucial.

  5. We will miss song dearly during the ACON, he dominated that midfield with tackles and interceptions galore.

    We do need a striker with VP being out and Bendtner out for 3 months approx. Vela is not there and Eduardo has never been the same since the unfortunate injury.

    Not sure what the answer is but someone who can hold the ball and run the channels would be ideal.
    alot o talk about Gignac but I’m not sure he is THAT good

  6. It,s time for Tomas Rosicky to start his briliant all round game with plenty shots on goal and combining well with Arshavin ,Nasri and whoev
    er the two strikers may be ,then Arsenal will surely win the Premier League this season .

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