Arsenal have largely impressed since Arteta returned to the Emirates in replace of Unai Emery, winning the FA Cup last season and beating Liverpool in the Community Shield at the start of the current campaign.
The Gunners have lost three of their last four Premier League fixtures to slip to 11th in the table, however, and Smith has bemoaned the team’s attacking threat.
Arteta’s side have scored just three goals in their last four league matches, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enduring an underwhelming period in front of goal.
Scoring has not been a problem for Manchester United – who Arsenal face this weekend – or Tottenham, with the Red Devils smashing RB Leipzig 5-0 during the week and Spurs scoring at least six goals in two separate games this season.
‘In Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, United have some marvellous young talent. In Edinson Cavani, they also have an old master with a clinical eye,’ former Arsenal striker Smith told StandardSport.
‘It’s enough to make anyone jealous, not least a manager trying to bridge the gap [Mikel Arteta].
‘To get a result at Old Trafford, Arsenal’s new-found sturdiness will be needed once again. To generate more optimism, the attack must find teeth that have gone missing.’
Smith added: ‘The Gunners have become very solid under Arteta, rarely giving much away.
‘But going forward? It has suddenly got a bit awkward, the old fluidity and flair nowhere to be seen.
‘Finding the right balance is the tough challenge now for a manager armed with less material than practically all of his rivals.
‘Look at Tottenham and Manchester United, two teams also harbouring top-four ambitions. Both have more quality and choice in the forward positions.’