I am going to surprise a few people now and tell you that Arsene Wenger does not pick his team and tactics with the deliberate intention of causing us Arsenal fans grief. He may be stubborn at times and there may be other faults that can be laid at the feet of the Frenchman but the idea that he does things to make Arsenal struggle and lose is just daft.
So his decision to select our struggling striker Olivier Giroud to start against Norwich and Sunderland the week before was because he thought it was the best thing for the club, and not just to get one of our key players back in form because Arsenal are in a fight and need all the points we can get.
The goal drought goes on for Giroud though, so the criticism goes on as well but I thought I would give the big man some support. It is clear that his form is far from it’s best and a lot of that is down to lack of confidence but his team mates are really not helping him get himself out of this rut.
Against a well drilled Norwich he had a tough task to do and very little time and space in a congested part of the pitch and to be honest he had very little impact in that first half, highlighted by the fact that his 15 touches was the lowest of any player.
But this highlights my point as well because if he is not getting the ball it is hard for him to influence the game. The narrow and congested set up of the visitors meant it was hard to bring Giroud’s link up to bear but the balls in to him were poor.
That set up did leave width, though, and with Giroud’s aerial ability you might have thought that crossing the ball was a good tactic but we did not use that width and any crosses were floated in from deeper positions. After Welbeck came on and stretched the defence Giroud had more freedom and started to have more say and when a cross came to him he provided a great assist.
Against Man City it will be different and Welbeck is likely to start up front but in the final home game against Villa it could be back to Giroud. If so try to see that he needs the support of his team mates as well as the Arsenal fans.