Arsene Wenger has blamed Arsenal's profligacy in front of goal for their failure to sustain their title challenge this season. The Gunners were top of the table in January but have since fallen 13 points behind league leaders Leicester City, with only six games left in the season.
The north London club have created the most chances in the Premier League but their players up front have struggled to deliver, which has led them to dropping points in crucial games at home and away. In the period February to March, the Gunners managed only one win from a possible seven in all competitions, which was against Hull City in an FA Cup replay at the KC Stadium.
The north London club eventually bowed out of the FA Cup to Watford, a competition they had won in the last two attempts, while also crashing out to Barcelona in the Champions League. Their league campaign suffered a massive blow as they collected only one point from games against Manchester United, Swansea and Tottenham within a week of each other. Wenger insists that the results were an aberration from last year when they had created much less chances but finished with greater aplomb, something they have struggled with this season.
"We had a big differential this season between the number of chances we created at home and the number of goals we scored, which was not the case last year," Wenger told Arsenal's official website. "We created two expected goals per game last year at home. This year, we've created 2.5 expected goals per game.
"Last season we scored 114 per cent of our expected goals. This year we've scored 50 per cent, or 55 per cent. As long as the team comes to you, sits back and waits for you to come out, if you do not score, they never come out. After they score with their first chance, you make it more difficult.
"The defensive quality of the teams has become much more efficient. If you look at Manchester City, they take the game to their opponent. Chelsea take the game to their opponent. We've all dropped points by doing that.
"We are an attacking side. I don't think you can pretend to be a big club and say you only want to defend. We have that responsibility and we have to stand up for that and continue to develop the quality of our game. It doesn't mean that we have to change our style, it means we have to be better with the style we play," he added.