It is time to start looking at how Arsenal did position by position. Today we are going to look at one of the thorniest positions, the strikers.
Let's start looking at how Arsenal's strikers look compared to every other Premier League team's striker output.
Overall the strikers at Arsenal a bit behind the top strikers and well behind the average of the big 6 (City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and United).
This isn't surprising and something that I think should have been expected if you have watched Arsenal. For most of the season, Arsenal got pretty poor attacking production from both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who the team probably expected more from. At the end of the year, Arsenal turned to Eddie Nketiah and his production was better but a bit on the streaky side.
The following adds a bunch more stats and then compares to team-level production for the top 5 European League.
Arsenal's strikers were decent at shot production, the biggest issues that stand out however are turning possession in good locations into shots. This was something that was especially frustrating to see from Lacazette who managed a very solid 7.8 touches within 25 meters of goal per 90 but struggled to turn that possession into shots consistently.
On the creative front, Arsenal's strikers did well at generating assists but were probably a bit fortunate on some of those, as the quality of shots assisted were not nearly as good. Overall Arsenal's strikers were decent at getting the ball into dangerous areas but not exactly a strength, nor was it a requirement with the creativity more coming from the attacking midfield.
Arsenal's strikers were heavily involved in the passing game having some of the highest overall pass volume numbers. They weren't the most efficient of passers but did maintain a solid pass completion rate.
Carrying the ball is another area where I think there was room for improvement. Arsenal strikers didn't lose the ball much but they also were not much of a threat to actually beat a man.
As outlets and options for receiving the ball Arsenal's strikers looked good. They were heavily involved in the buildup to chances and were able to get the ball into dangerous locations (see above for how that didn't lead to much). What they didn't do was act as much of a target for progressing the ball, leaving most of that to the wide forwards.
Lastly, Arsenal's strikers were very active on the defensive front and while as a team it was a bit inconsistent at times, when the press worked it was usually because the team was able to get effective pressure from the striker.
Alexandre Lacazette led the Arsenal strikers in minutes played but I think he was probably the most disappointing of the three main guys.
He had a solid run in the team doing something a bit different with his ability to drop deep and take up spaces more in midfield. However, teams figured out that he really couldn't hurt you if one of the center backs just followed him to those spaces. That led to a congested midfield and Arsenal didn't have a threat to turn and threaten the space behind the backline.
The biggest issue for me with Lacazette was the lack of shots, he had just five Premier League matches with 3 or more shots (non-penalty) and just one where he took more than four shots (Wolves at home where he had 8).
He did a lot of good things as a person to play off of and had a good understanding with the other attackers but his presence on the field seemed to put a lot of pressure on other players to need to produce threat and given their ages that might have been a bit too much.
He has probably played his last match for Arsenal and I wish him the best at where ever he plays next.
I have already written about Aubameyang and I don't think I have too much more to say on the subject.
I have also done a deeper dive into Nketiah and trying to figure out just how good he is.
I think my opinion on him is still that he looks to be a solid Premier League starter. I think I still have questions if he would ever be good enough to be an everyday striker for a team in the top four but I think he looks like he would be an okay rotation type option and perhaps this run of form suggests that more could be possible.
It is still very hard to make a great determination because so much of Nketiah's time has come off the bench and in spot starts. He has played in 76 league matches in his senior career but has made just 21 starts.
I wouldn't be against a contract extension for Nketiah but he is still a massive unknown at this part of his career.
Outlook for next season
Striker is probably the spot where Arsenal have the biggest potential to improve next season. The three strikers that played the majority of the team's minutes are out of contract and free agents or are already playing with someone else.
Folarin Balogun is the only player on the team that is a recognizable striker that has played at a senior level.
He had a solid loan in the Championship but looks like a guy that would be better suited for the Cups and Europa League than meaningful minutes in the Premier League.
That leaves probably two spots that will need to be filled (maybe one and a half if the second guy is also cover for other areas). So far the names that Arsenal have been linked with are tantalizing and exciting. I hope that Arsenal will be able to move quickly on this position to be able to start the season as strong as possible.