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Gunning for goal or striking out; have Arsenal got a striker problem?

Updated: Apr 24

Arsenal have been spreading the goals this season, with four players on nine or more goals this term. But will the league leaders pay for the lack of a target man?

In a word, no.

Spreading the goals has made Arsenal a considerable threat this season. Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have 32 Premier League goals between them, and yet that's only just over half of the 62 goals the Gunners have netted this season.

The false nine role Mikel Arteta brought Gabriel Jesus in to play has revolutionised Arsenal to table-topping proportions.

Despite his injury, the Brazilian has been directly involved in 11 goals himself in this season's league, hence the excitement over his return; the Arsenal fans roared louder when he returned to the pitch than they did for their third goal at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

In his absence, the Gunners initially attempted to play with a more traditional striker in Eddie Nketiah, their fourth scorer of nine plus goals this season.

The England U-21 International didn't disappoint, scoring in his first two Premier League starts after the World Cup.

The signing of Leandro Trossard however absolutely lit up the Gunners' attack, restoring the false nine role. Always happy to have the ball, Trossard has been exceptional every time he's played for the Gunners.

His performance this weekend was particularly outstanding, setting up all three first-half goals against Fulham; the last Arsenal player to assist three goals in a half was Cesc Fabregas.

The Belgian himself has proven to be a fantastic January signing in his own right, but the most crucial element of this by far was just how much better than makes Gabriel Martinelli.

Certain Arsenal fans have always regarded Martinelli as a natural striker. A former teammate of his from a youth team in Brazil told me that he was always a striker as a young teenager and it is showing in the Premier League.

The combination of his devastating pace and ingenious footwork makes him next to impossible to stop once he starts running. Against both Bournemouth and Sporting CP he made dazzling runs, in both cases only being denied by some fantastic last-ditch defending.

Martinelli has five goals in five Premier League games and is a huge danger up front. Since he started playing through the middle for Arsenal, no player has scored more Premier League goals.

Arsenal's number 11 is scoring important goals as well. The Brazilian netted the winner against Leicester, the first goal of the season at Selhurst Park, a first-minute goal in a 3 - 2 win over Liverpool and the vital fourth to finish off Aston Villa; he's a big game player.

Perhaps Arsenal's greatest strength when it comes to their attacking options is just how different they all are.

In Jesus, they have a true false nine, often delivering the pass before the assist by taking on and beating physical centre-backs simply by turning them inside out.

Leandro Trossard, although more effective on the wing, can fill in that Jesus false nine role when required given his versatility and sticky feet.

Eddie Nketiah isn't quite up to scratch compared to the others but has proven that whilst his team play isn't there yet, his finishing certainly is, with brilliant goals against West Ham and Brighton this season.

But Gabriel Martinelli really is the one to watch. With Jesus returning as the false nine, he'll have even more freedom to run at defenders and start high up the pitch. His recent performances have shown just how incredible he's going to be for Arsenal, this season and beyond.

Arsenal don't have a striker issue. Simply put, they've scored 62 goals this season, only five behind a Haaland-centred Manchester City. Those aren't the numbers of a struggling team, they're the numbers of a title-chasing team.

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