“Step right up Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t be afraid. We got goals. That’s right. If it’s goals you want, we got ’em.
“Short goals. Tall goals. Fat goals. Thin goals. Goals that’d make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window. That’s right. All the goals you need, when you need ’em. Goals so sexy they’ll make you forget to pick your kids up from school. Super goals. Eggsellent goals whatever way you like ’em. Poached, boiled, fried and scrambled goals. Sunny side up. Sunny side down.
“That’s it. Step on up and get some of Dr Arsene’s Penalty Box Tonic. 100% guaranteed – and I mean 100% – to get you the goals you need. You sir, what’s your name?”
“Where you from Oliver?”
“Round these parts.”
“You look like a man that had some trouble scoring goals.”
“And we’ve never met, but tell the people what happened after you took a swig of Dr Arsene’s Penalty Box Tonic.”
“Well, sir. I felt a tinglin’ in my parts that I ain’t ever felt before. Not even when Sally Carruthers, the preacher’s daughter, goes walking by in them shorts she wears. I took to the field and I scored me some goals.”
“How many goals?!”
“18 so far this season.”
“Can I get a Hallelujah, an Amen or an Aw Yeah?”
“And you there, come on up? What’s your name?”
“You were ill son?”
“And now you’re better, thanks to Dr Arsene’s Penalty Box Tonic!”
“I drank 5 bottles and it gave me the squirts but after one game I scored again. Aw yeah!”
“This is what this product can do for you. It’s guaranteed to get you goals.”
“Do you need any more evidence that this wonderful, magical, majestical, fantastical, remarkable, orgasmical potion can make you score and never stop? You do?! All right then. One more person I’ve never met from the crowd. You! Yes, you. That slight lookin’ fella starting off into space. Whadda they call you?”
“You drank the tonic. Tell the people what it did for you!”
“I’ve got one goal in my last 17 games!”
“Surely you mean 17 goals in your last one game?!”
“NO SIR! 17 games, 1 goal.”
“Well … er … what can I say … everybody look over there! A giant griffin is stealing those sheep!”
*crowd turns. Dr Arsene clambers onto his cart and giddy-ups his horses, making a hasty escape*
That’s the thing, isn’t it? Goals. And I’m not picking on Theo again, honestly, but the 1 in 17 seemed like a reasonable place to take that bit of nonsense. It’s not just him though. Bar Olivier Giroud with 18 goals, and Alexis with a reasonable 10 considering how long he’s been out of action, the rest of the team just aren’t contributing enough.
Ozil has 5 in 29 games; Ramsey has 5 in 27; Walcott has 5 in 27. Joel Campbell has 3 in 22; Oxlade-Chamberlain 1 goal all season – and that didn’t even come in a truly competitive game. Santi Cazorla played 20 games and didn’t score once. Francis Coquelin, although it’s clearly not his job to score, has yet to get off the mark for the club at all. We haven’t had anything from Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky, or Jack Wilshere – players who, when fit (insert your own smart remark here, possibly with an emoji or whatever), could be reasonably be expected to chip in with a few.
In short, we don’t have enough goalscorers in this team. Or we don’t have enough players who can score enough goals. It’s why I wondered if, this January, the manager might have been inclined to add something to the squad beyond the midfielder we obviously needed. I know January is not the ideal time to find those kind of players, but still.
Maybe the return of Welé ©@ArsenalGent might help in that regard, but goals are, basically, the whole point. I know some argue that preventing them at one end is a significant part of it, and of course it is, but even if you are a bit leaky at the back, having the potential hit back or just score more will win you points.
Look at Leicester, they lost just 1 of their first 12 league games, but only kept a single clean sheet in that time. Their defensive frailties will catch up with them, we thought. They’ll stop scoring, we thought. Well, they had a minor blip but they’re still scoring and now they’re keeping more clean sheets. Be worried.
The three teams above us in the table have scored more goals than us. We’ve got 37 in the league. Sp*rs have 44, Man City, 46, Leicester 44. Even if you think 7 goals isn’t that many, those 7 goals spread out across various games would be enough to have had a marked impact on some of our results.
One against Southampton; one against Norwich away; one more at Anfield (although we shouldn’t have needed it); one against Chelsea at home … FLAMINIIIIIIIIIIIII! Yes, I know you can’t pick and choose which games to add those non-existent goals to, I’m just making ham-fisted point. And it’s not as if we didn’t have chances. This is not a team that is struggling to create, it’s a team that’s struggling to finish.
Some of that, I’m sure, is temporary. It can happen, teams get a little block, the goals come again, and with the pressure off the finishing becomes much more instinctive. Confidence and belief plays a big part – look at what it’s doing for Jamie Vardy this season. He’s a player who believes he can score in any game, at any time and, after seeing what he did against Liverpool, from anywhere.
Another part of it though is having better players. Players who are more consistent in front of goal. Players who can make more than the occasional contribution, and the things is we have to many of those players in this squad right now.
When we don’t score, the knives come out all too quickly for Giroud. On the one hand, I understand the need for us to find that clinical striker, because that’s a player who will undoubtedly improve us. On the other, he’s more than done his share this season, all things considered, and for me the bigger issue is the supporting cast.
If we are to stop this slide and get this season going again, we’ve got to get big results against big rivals, home and away. To do that, those players are going to have to chip in with more than they’ve given us so far. It’s going to take that, or something phenomenal from Alexis in terms of his goalscoring, to get us those results. Can they do it? It’s not impossible, but on the basis of what we’ve seen so far, it looks improbable.
Maybe we can get Dr Wrighty to brew up some of his Clinical Finishing Potion. Wouldn’t that be a tonic?