Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal have to improve their creativity as the club seek to break down teams and produce results on a consistent basis.
Arsenal‘s lack of creative threat was evident during the 1-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Aston Villa in midweek, the north London side becoming the first team to fail to register a shot on target against the struggling outfit so far this season.
Recent victories over Liverpool and Manchester City have demonstrated the progress the Gunners have made since Arteta’s arrival as head coach, particularly with a defensive structure and organisation that has been lacking in recent campaigns.
Arsenal have, however, struggled against sides they would be expected to beat, and have registered the fifth lowest number of shots in the entire Premier League this season, with only Burnley, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United having had less.
Arteta admits the club’s lack of creative threat is an issue that needs addressing but feels his time facing defence-orientated teams at Manchester City leaves him in good stead to improve the side’s attacking play.
“I have experienced that for four years at Manchester City, working out the best ways to break that down,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“It is one of the challenges we are facing and one of the areas where we have to improve, for sure.”
Arteta suggested their problems could be helped by greater individual quality but believes the structure of the side is the most important aspect in ending their woes, the Spaniard insisting the fine details are vital in breaking down stubborn opposition.
“Sometimes it is down to individual quality, but the whole structure is probably even more important in order to be a threat in the spaces that you want to attack,” says Arteta. “How consistent you are in maintaining those attacks also depends on the structure behind the ball.
“Everything is linked together and the players have to understand that.
“It takes time because in small spaces, every detail, every touch, every movement is critical. And sometimes it’s not just about giving the ball to somebody, it’s about when. Do I do it now? Or do I do it one second later? A difference of 30 millimetres on a pass can change everything.
“Against Villa, we were much better in the first and second phase of our build-up. Villa were trying to press high in certain moments, but then they decided not to, to go back, because they weren’t being efficient in that. So, okay, we did better in that part, but now we need to improve the next part.”