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Bukayo Saka show proves prolific Arsenal don’t need striker to win title

Suraj Radia
Bukayo Saka, Arsenal
© IMAGO

Questions have been asked over Arsenal’s attacking unit this season but Mikel Arteta’s side brushed away any concerns with a destructive 6-0 win away to West Ham despite seeing injuries to key players pre-game.

Arsenal were hit with the news that Jorginho, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Jesus would miss the game at the London Stadium, which led to Leandro Trossard being handed a start as a striker after scoring against Liverpool last week.

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And the Belgian was one of five different goalscorers for Arsenal as they shell-shocked West Ham with four goals in 14 minutes before half time.

The win was imperative to Arsenal’s title charge, with Arteta’s men now sitting level on points with second-place Manchester City, who are only ahead based on goals scored, albeit with a game in hand.

Indeed, Arsenal’s 16 goals in their four-game winning run has narrowed the difference between the top three, with leaders Liverpool being only one goal and two points ahead.

Arsenal’s lack of a true goalscorer this season has come under scrutiny and the decision to not sign a striker in January may have raised some eyebrows, however contributions from all over the pitch has given the Gunners a new sense of unpredictability in recent weeks.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 11, 2024

Prolific Arsenal providing the turning point in title race

Although top scorers City have netted just three more times than Arteta’s side, Arsenal’s strikers had been criticised for their poor output this season, with Jesus and Eddie Nketiah only having nine goals between them.

However, with Jesus injured and Nketiah misfiring, Arsenal’s other stars have stepped up and Bukayo Saka’s brace against the Hammers was his fifth goal in six games.

Arsenal also saw Gabriel Magalhaes score for the fourth time in eight games, along with Saliba netting from a corner for his side’s 16th set piece goal of the season – more than any other team in the league.

With Trossard also having three goals in his last four, Arsenal’s prowess in front of goal has kicked in at the perfect time and made a mockery of those who felt they couldn’t challenge for the title without signing a striker.

While there is a need for the club to sign a natural number nine in the summer, Arsenal’s stars have taken the pressure off their goal-shy strikers and humbled rivals in the process, giving the club their best chance to right the wrongs of last season.

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