Continuing my analysis of the current Arsenal squad by JA
The forward line at Arsenal, isn’t as dangerous as those at other teams. Considering there’s not many to talk about, we’ll use categories like in the goalkeeping and defenders sections.
MOVEMENT/POSITIONING; for a striker, movement without the ball might be even more important than movement with the ball. I think Theo Walcott understands this concept the most. In matches where he plays, he often ends up with fewer touches than anyone else but is dangerous every time he touches the ball. He also likes to run off the shoulder of his marker when he starts out on the flank. This sort of clandestine movement keeps him undetected all throughout the match. On the contrary, Alexis Sanchez’s movement is pretty conspicuous when he doesn’t have the ball. He tends to present himself as an early target. Coming short then getting the ball and trying to wiggle his way into the opponent’s box. Without the ball though, he’s rarely that sleek. Danny Welbeck is more like Theo, preferring to spin away from his defender into the space behind him for a clear run on goal. Giroud is completely different though. He tends to want to come short and make room for someone else to run through the space he leaves.
VERDICT; Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud, Sanchez
PASSING/VISION; in today’s game of football, you want your strikers to be as good consumers as providers. You want them to provide goals as well as score them. Giroud seems to understand this best as he sort of provides a pivot around which forward play can happen – thus making his team mates more dangerous. He also happens to have improved his ball control, and has a pretty impressive passing range for a striker. Walcott is also a good provider especially with low crosses when he starts out wide. The other two men struggle with provision almost equally as much as each other.
VERDICT; Giroud, Walcott, Sanchez, Welbeck
BALL RETENTION/DRIBBLING; Occasionally , you need your strikers to keep the ball up field or just head straight into the opposition defence and cause damage. However it’s done only suits its purpose. Alexis Sanchez is undisputedly the most difficult to dispossess of the four. On his day he can dribble all day if he has to. Danny Welbeck also has some pretty good footwork and penetration for a guy his size .Theo Walcott can’t really keep the ball in a small space. Giroud has been utilized of late to keep the ball up field because he can hold the ball for a while as others find position. He doesn’t get much success when he tries to dribble though.
VERDICT; Sanchez, Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott
PACE; Giroud is slow, Sanchez is fast, and Welbeck is really fast, Walcott…………….
VERDICT; Walcott, Welbeck, Sanchez, Giroud
STRENGTH/JUMPING; these two go hand in hand. Regardless of how fast, smart, sleek one can be, you either have to be really strong, or jump really high, or both, if you want to own the premier league. I think Giroud ticks both boxes though he doesn’t use them so much for scoring, much more for provision. Welbeck is also really strong and can jump pretty high. Alexis too is really strong and isn’t the worst at jumping, especially when it means he gets a goal. Theo unfortunately isn’t really well endowed here.
VERDICT; Giroud, Welbeck, Sanchez, Theo
SHOOTING/FINISHING; You can run really fast, bully everyone, dribble past the whole pitch, be in all the right positions, but if you can’t put the ball in the net, you don’t earn the striker badge. Theo Walcott doesn’t usually have much of the ball but when he does, he has an impact – and that is very usually a shot. And when he shoots, it’s usually on target. He is very accurate. Alexis Sanchez is another accurate shooter. Despite the fact that he does too much with the ball that he struggles to shoot, when he does, it more often than not goes in. Giroud is pretty wayward with his shooting, it’s in the stands, it’s too weak, it’s on the post – but he does get it in a good number of times. One who really struggles here is Welbeck. Great idea with every shot. Application is the issue
VERDICT; Walcott, Sanchez, Giroud, Welbeck
Well the striker section will cause a lot of debate but the truth is, at best, these guys can hump up similar figures to all those world class strikers everywhere else. And people don’t become word class in a day. I think Sanchez is world class, Walcott has all the qualities to earn the badge but hasn’t done it long enough so I think he’s potential to be world class, Giroud is world class. Welbeck is potential to be world class.
All arguments are made assuming all players are at their best because an off form Messi would suck too… Thanks for reading, Gunner from Kampala, have fun debating!