THE CASE FOR OUR STRIKERS by GOONER100
Dear Gooners, I write this in response to the clamour from many Arsenal fans on this site, half of whom believe we have no chance of improving our league position, unless we secure a ‘world class’ centre forward.
I have read various articles on various sites and seen many comments here on JustArsenal. Frequent debate surrounds the activity of other teams and the ‘progress’ they are making (United, City and Liverpool in particular). People demand we buy Benzema, Lacazette or Higuain (amongst others). I can’t deny that to have such talent in the squad would be good, but I don’t think it is quite so critical as some would suggest.
Before I move on to our own squad, I need to point out a few obvious facts about buying strikers. Firstly last year United struggled to get anything from Falcao (4 goals in the entire season) despite carrying a reputed 250k+ per week wage bill for his services. Before Falcao arrived he had been bought by Monaco for 54m and before that Atletico Madrid for 35m where he scored 52 goals in 67 starts. So he seemingly was a no brainer, but it didn’t work out like that.
Then there is Balotelli who managed to contribute zero at Liverpool, Torres who moved for £50m to Chelsea and Carroll for 35m. None succeeded despite knowing the premier league and seemingly playing for the very managers who some of you seem to consider head and shoulders above Wenger. In fact last time Mouhinho was at Chelsea he took on Shevchenko for 30m, after he was named Ballon d’or winner and was regarded as one of the best in the world. Mourinho got a return of 9 goals in 48 games. There’s so many examples that demonstrate that just splashing the cash on these players is hit or miss that I can’t cover them, but believe me I could go on and on.
The premier league is a unique place and unfortunately ‘team cohesion’ as Wenger commented this week, plays a big part in success, which we have.
Players like Aguero or Costa buck the trend, they don’t prove the point. What it is that makes a player successful when they move is beyond me (probably an incredible internal drive to succeed, insatiable desire, a deep love of the game, combined with great ability, strength and supreme confidence) but who is out there that has this? The list of ‘failures’ presents different scenarios and questions so there is no single answer that is certain.
So to Arsenal. At present we probably have the strongest range of attacking options in recent memory, whether you consider that to be across the front three, or purely in the CF position. I only wish to focus on those who can play in the CF position (as that’s what everyone’s getting bent out of shape about) but it is clear we have wide players who can score and we have players who can do so from midfield, some of whom are still developing – like Wilshere, Ramsay, the Ox – and from whom most of expect to see more and more this season. We have goals all over the pitch.
So to our strikers..
Frustrating at times, but Giroud gets unfair criticism.
Last season he banged in goals against our biggest rivals, became a very important part of our link and hold up play and showed that his work rate was outstanding defending from the front, covering at corners and a showing a deft touch that defies his size. His first touch is first class and his ability to put a ball through to others shows his finesse and selflessness to work for the team. His return of 14 goals in 21 starts (and 6 sub appearances) is excellent by any standard (better than 1 goal every 2 games) and if you consider the guy actually broke his leg, remarkable. He won several MOTM awards, has a whoscored rating of 7.23 and won the Barclays player of the month. Every year he has got better and that’s exactly the point with striker transfers, there are very few that hit the ground running.
Then we have Theo….
Theo Walcott had a miserable season with injury. However we all know where he wants to play and at the end of the season the guy added something quite different to the team. Our attacking pace, fluidity and range of options was fabulous in the FA cup and very encouraging to see. Theo’s not the finished article but he’s got the potential to be top top quality if he makes the transition.
In his last full(ish) season he scored more than 20 goals from out wide, so it’s exciting to think what he could do down the middle. We know he’s got to get to a level of consistency (even he acknowledges this now) but if he does we could have one of the quickest, most dangerous strikers in world football over the next couple of seasons. Given our renowned ability to create opportunities he could flourish in this team. He’s only 26 and as long as he can deal with the injury issues (which with Shad Forsythe and last weeks two new fitness coaches, both class acts, we are well on the way to sorting) this could be his year.
Another target of much flack from disgruntled Gooners. Ok so he’s not the finished article at all, but then guys, neither was Thierry when he joined.
His contribution and work rate in games is exceptional and he possesses the physique and power to become a frightening prospect. At 24 he’s still developing but given he’s also currently the Euro qualifiers top scorer across the entire competition, I think he has shown he is no waste of space. He clearly needs to be more clinical but I trust Wenger enough to believe that if there is a coach out there that can help Danny to improve in this key area then we have him.
Danny is I guess, our third choice centre forward, not a bad option in my view, one that will improve further and with his ability to play wide, a great asset for the club.
Then there is our latest sensation and player of they year, Alexis Sanchez….
Admittedly more suited to the wide role, he has shown however if the need is there he can sit in the middle. With the flexibility we have across the front three we have cover left and right, so if the situation needed it we can use Alexis in this role. Again a fearsome opponent who is clinical and the kind of live wire that defenders hate to face.
Lastly we have our new rising star Chuba Akpom…..
Well Wenger has already said he’s staying with the first team so he’s rated. We know he needs to push on now but his performance this week in banging in three very different goals (yeah I know it was a select XI), was impressive. He’s got that ‘killer instinct’ as Wenger put it and he’s certainly got the physique to trouble defenders. He could be top quality and I don’t think we’ve seen a player like him come through for a long time (possibly ever…struggling to think back). If push came to shove and he turned out for the first team this season, I’d be excited about what he might do.
So that’s our attacking arsenal. I can’t say there are too many teams with better depth or potential. We have both proven top quality talent and huge potential. We are equipped to deal with all issues whether it be injury, teams playing with a high line or those that we need to bully. We have pace, we have power. We have silky skills and brute force. We know our team can create chances like no other and we seem to be sorting our eternal injury issues. We have team cohesion and understanding. It is all positive Gooners.
I know some of you won’t necessarily want to accept that we have a pretty decent range of options for all game situations. Equally some won’t give a damn that buying would impact playing time and development for all of them. Despite the earlier evidence to the contrary, some of you will maintain that buying big will simply fix all our problems. But the way I see it is, if we don’t buy, we do actually have a pretty fearsome front five. If Wenger does buy, I hope Akpom goes on loan (because he won’t otherwise get a look in) but if we don’t (and I’m pretty relaxed if that’s the case) then I actually think we will still mount our most successful assault in the last decade on the premier league.
Either way guys chill, 2015/16 for AFC fans, is going to be an exciting season!!