Jack Gaughan for MailOnline

As Roberto Firmino’s centre skidded across the Arsenal goal on Monday night, opportunity gaped for Christian Benteke. Three yards out and all alone at the back post, Liverpool’s No 9 – strong and certain of himself – was destined to give the visitors a lead they so deserved at the Emirates.

The Gunners looked shot defensively, unable to cope with a robust striker who pushed Calum Chambers and Gabriel from pillar to post.

This was their biggest chance yet, but Petr Cech had other ideas. In a phase of play indicative of how the first weeks of this season have panned out for the Premier League’s usual freescorers, the big Czech goalkeeper pulled off a wondrous stop worthy of any highlight reel come May.

Christian Benteke was thwarted brilliantly by Petr Cech during the 0-0 draw at the Emirates on Monday

Christian Benteke was thwarted brilliantly by Petr Cech during the 0-0 draw at the Emirates on Monday

Olivier Giroud wasn't able to force a winner as Arsenal could only draw against Liverpool

Olivier Giroud wasn’t able to force a winner as Arsenal could only draw against Liverpool

There is no getting away from the fact that Liverpool, as well as Arsenal and Manchester United, are finding goals much harder to come by at the minute.

The trio have found the net just six times in their combined nine games thus far – their worst return in Premier League history after three rounds of fixtures. Less than a goal a game. Worrying times indeed. 

Not since the division’s inception in 1992 have these three even got close to only scoring six between them. Back then it was eight.

Yes, they have come up against stubborn defences this year – Newcastle’s rearguard action at Old Trafford symptomatic of the tricky top-flight customers they face this year.

That, coupled with obvious deficiencies in each of their squads, has seen them struggle.

Arsene Wenger has crowed all summer long that there are funds available should the Gunners want to strengthen. Director Lord Harris told Sportsmail that £200million is in the bank.

Monday’s draw against Liverpool showcased just how much Arsenal need some change up front – limited Olivier Giroud carrying the can alone – and, despite Gary Neville questioning the lack of a new defensive midfielder, it is goals they need.

Giroud had to carry the can on his own for Arsenal - a sign that they do not have the players to change games

Giroud had to carry the can on his own for Arsenal – a sign that they do not have the players to change games

Wayne Rooney has been strangely subdued for Manchester United so far this season 

Wayne Rooney has been strangely subdued for Manchester United so far this season 

Substitute Javier Hernandez missed a very presentable opportunity against Newcastle on Saturday

Substitute Javier Hernandez missed a very presentable opportunity against Newcastle on Saturday

There is a paucity of altered attacking options offering a change in tack.

Much the same can be said of Manchester United. Wayne Rooney has failed to hit the ground running and, while Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao were nondescript last season and won’t be missed, there has to be some sort of option off the bench at least.

Javier Hernandez missed a very presentable opportunity against Steve McClaren’s Magpies and doesn’t appear to have much of a future in the north west.

Beyond that there is very little indeed – a raft of modern-day ‘forwards’, wingers and No 10s, but nobody to lead from the front, nudging goals inside the six-yard box. Ed Woodward still insists they are in for bigger names than Pedro – who they apparently went cool on – but United cannot afford to sell themselves short yet again.

Danny Ings hasn't yet managed to make an appearance for Liverpool after his move from Burnley

Danny Ings hasn’t yet managed to make an appearance for Liverpool after his move from Burnley

Liverpool are perhaps best placed to start scoring more regularly soon.

By all accounts Benteke has started life on Merseyside well, giving Brendan Rodgers a focal point and will have been encouraged at the enthusiasm of Joe Gomez to whip balls into the Arsenal box.

The intrigue surrounds Danny Ings. Signed from Burnley in the summer, he is yet to play a single minute for his new club, sat on the bench at Stoke, the Emirates and at home in last week’s win over Bournemouth.

Eleven goals in a struggling Burnley side suggest that he is ready to take that chance when it eventually comes. 

 


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