Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal to take more risks in front of goal in order to arrest the slump the side are currently on.
The Gunners head into Saturday’s game at home to Southampton on the back of two consecutive defeats against Manchester United and Everton, knowing a win is needed to keep their top-four hopes in a healthy position.
The Arsenal boss also appears to be struggling to get the best out of forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with the side sitting in the bottom half of the stats table in terms of goals scored and chances created.
However, he believes the shoulder of responsibility should not rest on just the striking duo but instead the whole team.
“We have to encourage the players to take more risks and put the ball in the box more when we have the opportunity to do so,” Arteta said.
“We also have to have more players arriving in the box and to take and score the big chances when they come.
“When it comes to creating chances it’s always a combination of the individual, the collective and the team.
“We have to look at everything – we also need to increase the level of performances and close the game out when we have level of performance in matches. We need more consistency.”
Arteta: There’s nothing personal with Auba
The Arsenal boss also reiterated his position with Aubameyang.
The Arsenal captain was named on the substitutes’ bench against Everton and only came in the 85th minute, snatching at a late strike to extend his run without a Premier League goal to six games.
On Aubameyang, Arteta said: “I have a very good relationship with my players and what everyone has to understand is that I only do the best for the club and the team.
“Any decision is not personal but when a player is not scoring it affects mood, confidence and belief – but you have to try not to accept it and feel sorry for yourself.
“It’s all about patches and moments and when you are in good form and hitting the goals then trying to maintain it as long as possible while also trying to reduce the time when they aren’t in good form.”
Why Arteta’s decisions are inviting scrutiny
By Nick Wright
“I want more from my team,” Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports. The Arsenal manager offered no excuses for his side’s poor display in Monday’s 2-1 loss to Everton but to many supporters, the players aren’t the only ones underperforming right now.
A third defeat in four games has left Arteta under mounting scrutiny. “It was a worrying sign, how they lost,” said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher. After the 3-2 reverse at Manchester United, this was the second game in a row in which Arsenal have surrendered a lead.
The momentum of their 10-game unbeaten run has been lost at a time when rivals are finding their own. Arsenal have slumped to seventh place as a result, behind Manchester United and Tottenham – two clubs who were in crisis as recently as a few weeks ago.
It would be a stretch to call Arsenal’s current plight a crisis. They are only four points behind fourth-placed West Ham, whom they face at the Emirates Stadium next week. “They can win the next home game and they will still be challenging for the top four,” added Carragher.
But it is nonetheless concerning how quickly their progress has unravelled and Arteta did not help himself with some of the decisions which ultimately contributed to their latest defeat.