Arsenal: Goalscoring midfielders provide title edge

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Arsenal's fruitless pursuit of a reputable striker was well-documented during the summer transfer window, but the club's failure to recruit a proven goalscorer will prove far from catastrophic for Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners attempted to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid, but he moved to Napoli, before trying to prise Luis Suarez from Liverpool, only for the Uruguay international to remain at Anfield.

This apparent debacle left Olivier Giroud the only centre-forward of any experience in the Arsenal first-team, before the reintroduction of the much-maligned Nicklas Bendtner, but the return of the goalscoring midfielder at the club will more than supplement this failure.

Of Arsenal's 18 goals in the Premier League so far this season, 10 have been scored from midfield, with Aaron Ramsey alone responsible for half of those contributed from the middle of the park.

While it would seem unrealistic to expect Ramsey to continue this rich spell of form for the rest of the campaign, Arsenal can boast several other players capable of reaching potentially decisive tallies this term.

Saturday's victory against Norwich was a prime example of Arsenal's ability in midfield, with all four of their goals scored by players from these positions.

Not since the Invincibles, when Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg were at their potent best, has Wenger had a greater spread of goalscoring talent, and this is likely to prove pivotal in the title race.

The last two seasons in which Arsenal won the Premier League title - 2001-02 and 2003-04 - the club had the most prolific midfield player in the league over the course of these respective campaigns.

Ljungberg contributed 12 goals in the first of these seasons, the same amount as Robbie Fowler that year, to mark him out as the leading midfield scorer in the championship.

Two years later and Arsenal clinched the title again, and unbeaten at that, with Pires taking the plaudits as the top scoring midfielder, with 14 Premier League strikes that season.

In each of these seasons, of course, Arsenal were spearheaded by Thierry Henry, who led the goalscoring charts on each occasion, but they now have enough quality to ensure a player of the Frenchman's influence is not a necessity.

Henry scored 24 of Arsenal's 79 goals in 01-02 - just over 30 percent of the total - while 40 percent of the team tally came from midfield areas.

The Invincibles season saw 73 goals scored, 30 of which came from Henry, while midfield again was able to contribute around 40 percent of the team's total over the course of the campaign.

There is no Henry on this occasion, but an increase in players capable of finding the net over 10 times this term puts Arsenal in a position of strength as the season progresses.

If Arsenal's midfielders can continue to account for over 50 percent of their goals as the games tick by, with Giroud scoring at frequency that is expected of him, then the title could be theirs to lose.

Ramsey, Mesut Özil, and Jack Wilshere already have nine goals between them in Arsenal's eight Premier League fixtures, while the return of Santi Cazorla - who scored 12 times in the league last season - provides even more firepower.

Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski, who were responsible for 30 percent of the club's goals last term, remain on the sidelines, and their respective returns provide Arsenal with options like no other club in the league.

Wenger was quick to play down any comparisons with the Invincibles following Arsenal's defeat of Norwich but, a decade on, the club have their strongest attacking department assembled since that historic season.

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