Mikel Arteta admits it is ‘impossible’ for Arsenal to challenge the Premier League’s top teams unless their ‘end product’ improves following the club’s dismal defeat to Aston Villa this weekend.
Arsenal slumped to a fourth league defeat of the season after being comprehensively beaten by Aston Villa at the Emirates on Sunday, the north London side producing a poor performance as the visitors secured an emphatic 3-0 victory in the capital.
Arteta’s side were second best throughout and managed just two shots on target during the loss, with the Spaniard admitting his side’s lack of creativity is a major concern at present following their inconsistent start to the campaign.
“That is something we have to improve on, to create as well,” Arteta told the media at his post match press conference. “We need to be more ruthless, but again I wouldn’t like to [point at] anybody – today wasn’t about that, it was about how we went about the job and who we were as a team and what we were transmitting as a team.
“I didn’t like it from the first whistle, we conceded on a mistake and got away with the goal on VAR and afterwards it was just not good enough.”
Amongst the club’s major concerns has been the form of club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has cut a frustrated figure with just two league goals for the season so far.
The Gabon international has largely been utilised on the left-hand side of the attack by Arteta, but there have been increasing calls for the Gunners boss to restore the player to a centre-forward role.
Arteta insists the 31-year-old’s previous goalscoring record from the position is evident that he can rediscover his form from a wide role, admitting it is the team’s ‘collective’ responsibility to find the forward in areas where he can threaten.
“A team function is a collective thing that we have to do more. We certainly are getting in some situations, but the end product is something we have to improve and about the position and his movement and where we can find him, of course we can talk about is this the right or wrong place for him, but when things were working and he was scoring that debate wasn’t there.
“What is certain is that with these numbers, scoring this amount of goals is impossible to fight with the top teams so we have to maintain the numbers that we have defensively in our organisation and for sure we have to improve our numbers attacking-wise if we want to be challenging and if you want to be consistent in winning football matches.”
Arteta says he will use the upcoming international break as an opportunity to reflect on recent performances and address his side’s issues in creating and taking chances, suggesting he could look to change his front three as Arsenal bid for more consistency in their results and performances.
“We will consider those things when we look back on all of the games that we’ve played since the last international break. It will depend on who is in good form, who is in good spirits and how the boys react to that defeat as well. We’ll try to make the right adjustments.”