Mikel Arteta’s demands set unrealistic expectations for Arsenal’s under-performing forwards.
Mikel Arteta has proved to be a man of statistics since he began exploring the world of football management.
The Arsenal boss has relied upon the numbers to support several arguments during his tenure, having elaborated on win probabilities earlier in the season after the Gunners encountered a tricky run of form.Lastst year we won the game against Everton with a 25% chance of winning, you win 3-2,” he said on December 21.
“Last weekend, it was a 67% chance of winning any Premier League game in history, and a 9% chance of losing, and you lose. 3% against Burnley and you lose. 7% against Spurs and you lose.It is a relatively unconventional stance for a head coach to take, but interesting nevertheless.
The Spaniard reverted back to the figures after losing to Aston Villa recently, stating: “All those things we have to improve because with the numbers we produce in the final third, we have to be hitting the target at least 10 or 12 times.The team with the highest shots on target per match average this season is Manchester City with just 5.6, with the worst being West Brom on 2.7.Last season, Pep Guardiola’s side again topped the charts with an average of 6.5 per match, with Sheffield United’s 2.9 ranking bottom.
Those numbers suggest that shots on target are difficult to achieve, with the difference from top to bottom of the division being around just three attempts.
The Gunners currently rank 13th in the Premier League for shots on target per match and last season, they placed 11th.
While there is certainly room for some improvement – given Arsenal’s percentage of shots on target ranks 15th – achieving 10-12 on target per match is highly unlikely.Individually, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 1.0 shots on target per 90 minutes is down from his marks of 1.2 in 2019/20 and 1.3 the season before; Alex Lacazette, meanwhile, has enjoyed an improvement to 1.4 on target from last term’s 1.2 and 1.1 in 2018/19; Nicolas Pepe is producing 0.9 this season against 0.8 in the previous campaign.
All three could be better, even as Lacazette has enjoyed positive starts to 2021 while Aubameyang has dipped but, realistically, even if all improve on their previous maximums, it’s still not going to get Arteta to where he wants to be.
The only other Arsenal players averaging anywhere in the region of 1.0 shots on target per 90 minutes are Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, whose numbers are a little inflated given his lack of minutes, both on 0.9. Then it’s a drop off to Emile Smith Rowe on 0.4.