Arsenal legend Michael Thomas has spoken exclusively to CaughtOffside about the problems facing Mikel Arteta’s struggling side at the moment.
The Gunners suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Leicester City over the weekend, with Jamie Vardy striking late on to punish a sloppy display from the home side.
Despite a decent transfer window that saw Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey come in, it seems there’s still work to be done with this unconvincing Arsenal squad.
Former Arsenal star Thomas, who scored the club’s famous title-clinching goal against Liverpool in 1989, believes Arteta needs to sort out his side’s lack of creativity quickly.
When asked if Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar could be the answer, Thomas said a signing in that department is needed, whether it’s Aouar or a similar style of creative midfield player.
“Through Arteta giving the team a more robust look, it has come at a cost to the creative side of our game,” Thomas told CaughtOffside. “The players are playing very rigid. You need to be able to control the ball in areas that the opposing team doesn’t want to be and suffocate them. I think this will change in time but it needs to be sooner rather than later.
“Mesut Ozil obviously offers great creativity when he plays, but at what cost to the team’s efficiency?
“The team obviously needs more creativity going forward because they simply don’t have enough good efforts on goal. We are used to the frontline being played in behind, but recently everything seems to be in front of the opposition with no penetration or speed in the attacks. Another creative outlet is very needed whether it be Aouar or someone else.”
Thomas added that he hopes to see more involvement from Nicolas Pepe soon, whilst adding that it could be for the best to move Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from his current wide forward role to a more central position.
“Pepe still has a lot to give but the creativity depends on Arteta getting the balance right between defensive stability and attacking threat,” Thomas said. “He has the ability to make the difference and hopefully he does so this Sunday.
“The wide role is not Aubameyang’s best position in my opinion, but the team are not creating enough for him anyway.”