Ex-Gunner Martin Keown claims Arsenal never needed a new No. 9

By on March 12, 2024

Arsenal Kai Havertz Mikel Arteta

Martin Keown, on TNT Sports via Football London, claims Arsenal didn’t need to sign a clinical striker in the winter. He suggests Mikel Arteta already had the players to get his team scoring goals.

Arsenal’s main concern in the opening half of the season was them not being clinical. They created numerous chances but failed to convert them; in defeats to West Ham and Newcastle, a clinical Arsenal would have easily won those games.

However, following the warm-weather training camp in Dubai during the midseason break, Arsenal discovered their efficiency. In their last eight league games, they have scored 33 goals, which is remarkable.

Though versus FC Porto in the Champions League first leg round of 16, they struggled in front of goal; that was just a bad day at the office. Arsenal have been clinical; with Kai Havertz or Leandro Trossard playing as a false nine, they are dangerous.

The Arsenal attack, at its best

Ex-Gunner Martin Keown has thrown shade at those who claimed Arsenal would be unable to compete without a clinical striker. He adds that he always understood Arteta and his technical bench needed to find solutions with the players they had, and that is exactly what they’ve done.

He claims they have become unpredictable, and players can now express themselves as they should. He adds that on-field tactical adjustments are catching the opposition off guard, hence their efficiency.

The ex-Gunner told TNT Sports:

“Well, I thought it was lazy journalism. I was doing a game I was asked a question: ‘Oh, when Arsenal didn’t get the goals they needed against West Ham, 30 shots at goal, no goal, and everyone was jumping on the bandwagon, saying they haven’t got a striker.’

“I thought, well, actually, what they need to do is work better with the ones they’ve got and find solutions. We’ve seen Saka now scoring off his right foot in quick succession, next one, hits it with his left. It was all becoming a bit too predictable, and I think that’s changed now; they’ve become unpredictable in how they do it. They keep changing slightly the way that they’re playing, the structure of their midfield, and I think that’s clever.”

For Keown, Arsenal have demonstrated that they are not in need of a clinical striker, even as the summer transfer window approaches. He added:

“There’s still an opportunity to be successful with what they’ve got; City did it without a striker for two seasons. Havertz has now started to play his best football, Trossard too; they’ve kind of flip-flopped into that role, so the goals are coming in from all directions.”

Keown’s no doubt suggests Arsenal should not be frantic to go for a top striker. But can they afford not to do that in the summer?

A number of top strikers have been linked with a move to the Emirates; proceeding with the striker deal may be prudent. It just makes the Gunners stronger for next season and seasons to come.