Arsenal must be more clinical in front of goal after setbacks in recent games, manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday as they bid to return to the top four and qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal’s hopes of securing a top-four Premier League finish were dealt a blow after Monday’s 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace. They sit fifth, behind Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference, ahead of Saturday’s home match against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The north London side have scored only once in their last three league games, well below par after a five-game winning streak propelled them up to fourth.
“The setback has happened and it’s happened with nine games to go and we have to react now. We have to show tomorrow the energy, the commitment and the passion that we want to play the game tomorrow in front of our fans,” Arteta told reporters.
“We’re going to try to score more goals and we’re certainly creating the chances to do so, but we have struggled in recent matches to put the ball in the net and we need to be more efficient in the opponent’s box.”
Striker Alexandre Lacazette is Arsenal’s only senior player in that position following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to Barcelona in January but the Frenchman has scored only four times in 24 league appearances this season.
“Laca’s contribution to the team in many other ways has been phenomenal. Of course, we want the strikers to score goals and we know that when we’re winning games as well and we require them to do that,” Arteta said.
Arsenal will be without the services of midfielder Thomas Partey after he picked up a thigh injury at Crystal Palace but Arteta said he was unsure if the Ghana international would miss the rest of the season.
“It’s a little bit ambiguous, but he has a significant injury and we’ll have to keep assessing him, but he will be out for some weeks,” Arteta said.
“It could be (an issue), but it could also not be because it’s an area where he had a previous injury as well and he felt it straight away.”