Mikel Arteta has been told that Arsenal can establish themselves as ‘out and out favourites’ for the Premier League title by improving two positions this month.
Arsenal came very close to ending their wait for Prem glory last season, sitting top of the table for much of the campaign but ultimately falling behind eventual winners Manchester City in the final few weeks. After spending over £200million on Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber over the summer, Arsenal showed their intent to go one better this time around.
So far, the Gunners have won 12 out of 20 league matches, putting them in fourth spot. They are behind Liverpool, Aston Villa and City, though the title race remains close as only five points separates those teams.
It may not have been a league game, but the home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday – which saw Arsenal get dumped out of the FA Cup – showed exactly why Arteta could do with a new centre-forward in his squad.
Arsenal missed a host of chances throughout the game, and this allowed Liverpool to grow in confidence before eventually picking up a 2-0 win thanks to a Jakub Kiwior own goal and a late Luis Diaz strike.
With Gabriel Jesus out through injury, Arteta selected Havertz up front in that game. Eddie Nketiah had to wait until the 81st minute before getting to come off the bench.
In an interview with Football Insider, former England and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Paul Robinson has urged Arsenal to land a top-class goalscorer. However, that is not the only area of the team Arsenal need to improve if they are to win the title, as a new left-back is also needed.
“It’s well documented that Arsenal need a striker,” he said. “There’s no secret that they’re one fantastic striker away from being genuine title contenders.
Need for two Arsenal signings ‘glaringly obvious’
“But the two areas that are stopping them being out and out favourites are striker and left-back.
“Their last two games against Liverpool and West Ham where they lost – they created so many chances without scoring enough. That’s their issue. It’s not a quick or easy fix.
“It’s glaringly obvious that Mikel Arteta is two players short – that’s the way they are.
“If you look at the midfield players they have, did they need to spend £65m on Kai Havertz? Would that money have been better spent elsewhere?
“These positions need to be their focus in January, it’s huge but they’re tough deals to do.”
Arsenal are long-term admirers of Brentford striker Ivan Toney, and the player himself has even spoken about his dream of signing for them.