Football: Goal-shy Arsenal continue to stutter

Newcastle's Florian Thauvin (left) vies with Arsenal's Nacho Monreal (right).
Newcastle's Florian Thauvin (left) vies with Arsenal's Nacho Monreal (right). AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Touted by many as title challengers before the season, Arsenal have failed to set the Premier League alight, and it is their goal-shy attack rather than defensive vulnerability which has highlighted their underwhelming start this campaign.

Arsenal laboured to an unimpressive 1-0 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday and only had a Fabricio Coloccini own-goal to show for their endeavours despite racking up 21 efforts on goal.

Despite their array of dazzling attacking talent only Olivier Giroud has netted in four matches this season - along with two own-goals in victories over Crystal Palace and Newcastle.

In two matches at the Emirates Stadium - a surprise 2-0 opening-day defeat against West Ham United and a goalless draw against Liverpool - Arsenal have failed to score despite creating chances at will.

"You always want more goal scorers but I believe that at the moment we have not fired on all cylinders offensively," manager Arsene Wenger told BT Sport.

"Our finishing has maybe not been absolutely clinical and we have to focus on that. We have offensive potential.

"We still have (Danny) Welbeck (Jack) Wilshere out. We did not have (Mesut) Ozil today and they are all offensive players."

At St James' Park, Theo Walcott and Giroud spent time in a central-forward position but both were guilty of spurning easy chances.

Alexis Sanchez, last season's top scorer, has yet to get going this year while Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla have lacked a final product despite plenty of intent and endeavour.

For much of the close-season Arsenal were linked with a move for Real Madrid's France forward Karim Benzema - one of the most feared attackers in Europe.

Wenger remains optimistic about bringing in attacking reinforcements before the end of the transfer window on Tuesday.

"We are out there and working on it and I am optimistic more than before but it's very difficult to predict," the Frenchman added.

Arsenal have seven points from their opening four fixtures heading into the international break.