Arsenal's Premier League title hinges on their forwards

Arsenal's Premier League title hinges on their forwards

Tuesday's 2-1 triumph against Nottingham Forest emphasized the delicate balance Arsenal must navigate in the Premier League title race. The Gunners seem poised to conclude the January transfer window without the sought-after attacking reinforcement, a decision influenced by financial limitations and a belief in the capability of Arsenal's existing options to secure success.

Unlike the previous year when budget-friendly alternatives were pursued due to unaffordable top targets, this time, with Ivan Toney from Brentford and Wolves' Pedro Neto considered beyond reach, manager Mikel Arteta has opted to rely on his current forwards to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the top spot.

An additional factor influencing this decision is the potential disruption of team cohesion by an imperfect addition. Arsenal's attacking strategies are well-established, as demonstrated by their extended periods of possession, reaching an impressive 81% in the first half. However, despite the dominance, they failed to convert it into a single shot on target.

The match against Nottingham Forest hinted at a return to a worrisome pattern after their 5-0 victory over Crystal Palace, reflecting the inconsistency that led to a run of one win in seven games around Christmas, prompting calls for squad reinforcement. Nevertheless, Arteta's faith in his squad and tactical approach paid off.

Gabriel Jesus capitalized on a lapse in Forest's concentration to score in the 65th minute, followed by Bukayo Saka firing in a second after a swift counter-attack initiated by Gonzalo Montiel in the 72nd minute.

The fact that both goals originated from a throw-in and a counter-attack, rather than meticulously crafted plays, highlights the adaptability Arsenal will require in the coming months.

Arteta commented, "We had to be patient, we didn't allow them to run, and we were able to generate chances in various ways, which is pleasing. I think we showed a lot of maturity to control the game the way we had to."

The City Ground's significance as the site of Arsenal's mathematical defeat in last season's title battle with City added emotional weight to the occasion. Arteta acknowledged, "What happened last year was still in our tummy. We wanted to put it right."

Despite a late scare from Forest, with Taiwo Awoniyi scoring in the 89th minute, Arsenal held on. Awoniyi's introduction at halftime altered Forest's attacking dynamic, but Arsenal's resilience secured the win.

Arteta praised Jesus's character, citing his determination to play despite a knee issue. The match ended with a bit of on-field tension between players, but Arteta welcomed it, seeing it as a sign of the team's demands for excellence and a reminder of the delicate balance in a title race.

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