Mikel Arteta Arsenal masterplan works as Gabriel Jesus proves summer transfer plan right

Arsenal’s plans to sign a striker have not and should not change after Man City draw highlighted the difference needed to go one step further as Mikel Arteta plans league dominance.

Mikel Arteta has turned Arsenal into a goalscoring machine but Manchester City draw showed why a striker is still needed

Arsenal secured a valuable point at the Etihad Stadium meaning that in four games against both Manchester City and Liverpool they have taken eight points, not losing in any. The 0-0 with City this time around however could be the most influential of them all and a signal of another step taken by the Gunners.

The talk might have been pre-match that City were without some of their key defenders, however their attacking options that have helped them amass a ridiculous 57-game run in which they scored in every single one were all available and yet for the second time this season none could break through. Arsenal used to be a side laughed at for their defensive chaos and Gunners supporters themselves would watch games peering through the fingers covering their face at times.

This game represented the evolution and the change that has been achieved. What is exciting is that it also revealed the levels that Mikel Arteta can still achieve and they are discussed in our football.london successes and frustrations from Sunday afternoon’s clash.

Successes

The wall

William Saliba was awarded man of the match and he rightfully deserved praise but either of the defensive pair could have been awarded the prize. Gabriel Magalhaes was stunningly good and limited Erling Haaland to very few opportunities whatsoever.

Benjamin White was, for much of the first half, Arsenal’s most threatening player and defensively he was solid too. A combination of the exasperated Jakub Kiwior who had just played 120-plus minutes for Poland to help them to a European Championship and Takehiro Tomiyasu who came to rescue him locked down a brilliant Bernardo Silva and a testing Jeremy Doku.

Arsenal are simply a different beast these days and provides the foundation like it did at home, that this side can genuinely beat anyone in the world. That is of course, if they take their chances, but more on that later.

Stay in the race

This means that Arsenal stay ahead of Manchester City in the race for the title despite falling behind rivals Liverpool as they scraped by Brighton at Anfield. The result should give the Gunners that belief that they can indeed get the results they need to find a way through not only the run-in but Europe too.

With a trip to Bayern Munich on the horizon following a first leg at the Emirates Stadium with the potential for a semi-final against either City or Real Madrid, it shows a doggedness that is needed in tournament football too. Across both matches against the league’s best, they’ve come out on top and they’ve done it by securing valuable draws on the road at the Etihad and at Anfield.

Arsenal do indeed have, on paper, the toughest run-in of the three sides but none are games they will not be expected to win. Be it at Tottenham or Manchester United, the Gunners will be favourites and they have earned that right.

Arteta’s plan works

In the wake of the game, there has been much said about Arsenal’s approach. It wasn’t particularly pretty nor was it able to bring home the three points but what was obvious was the difference in Arsenal’s performances, and crucially results, of old that did not fall in their favour.

What was important about Arteta’s strategy is unlike every single time Arsenal have gone to the Etihad is that it gave the Gunners a chance. More than that but watching back a highlight reel, eliminating the City dominance, to someone who’d not watched it live you’d think the Gunners had the better game with the chances they created compared to City.

If Arsenal do not win the league, it will not be because of their games against City and Liverpool, which last season it most certainly was the reason why the title went again to Guardiola. The foundation of a team to win it all is there and if you cannot see it now, it is no one’s fault but your own. You’re simply refusing to see it.

Frustrations

Take your chances

In a game where you muster the defensive might that Arsenal displayed today, just like they did earlier in the season, you need to take your chances. At the Emirates Stadium, fortune favoured the Gunners just like it did at Wembley before the season started with both Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard’s efforts taking a deflection to beat Ederson.

This time, Gabriel Jesus had two great opportunities but couldn’t hit the target. Leandro Trossard could find a shot which was on the goal but instead straight at Stefan Ortega when a pass to Martinelli might have been the smarter option.

Despite City’s dominance, it was Arsenal who had the better chances as mentioned. Whilst a good point, there will be some regret that comes along with it and that is perhaps the sign of a team aiming for titles.

Transfer plans don’t change

A striker is on the menu and for all of Arsenal’s goals, a track that appears to be headed for another record season beating a league-high last season of 88, it does not matter if they scored a hundred the difference in these games has, as mentioned, come down to being clinical. Had the chances that fell to Jesus instead been at the feet of someone more ruthless, would they have taken them and the game instead been a victory?

These are the right questions to ask because it is about how this team can become better. Mikel Arteta continues to make ruthless calls like we’ve seen with the goalkeeper situation, and despite the form of Kai Havertz and the investment in Jesus, a centre-forward is still a player who can take this side further.

The question is of course who? Without the obvious ‘Declan Rice-esque’ signing at striker like there was last summer for midfield, any transfer will be a risk but Edu has given fans very little reason to doubt him with the squad that has now been built.

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