Why Arsenal do not DESPERATELY need…..(Part 1) – A Centre-Forward!

Why We Don’t Desperately Need ….. by TJ

In 2014/15 we saw the addition of Alexis Sanchez, Callum Chambers, Matthieu Debuchy, David Ospina, Gabriel Paulista, Kristian Bileik and some youngsters for the Academy. Not really a quiet year for Arsenal! We strengthened in a few areas and made some good replacement buys.

We saw the emergence of Hector Bellerin (did we miss Sagna?) and Francis Coquelin announced his arrival with aplomb. The performances in the second half of the year (calendar year 2015) were in stark contrast to the first half of the season, and from a points tally perspective, perhaps just 1-2 points off the eventual champions. Clearly we gave them too much of a head-start.

Most pundits sitting from afar are suggesting that Arsenal need to add 2-3 players to compete for the title. The “safe” recommendations by them (they can’t get shot down for those comments) include a defensive midfielder, a striker and perhaps a goalkeeper. A lot of Arsenal fans are jumping on that bandwagon but let’s take a look at this.

Why We Don’t Desperately Need a Centre Forward

With Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck and Sanchez all able to play in that Centre Forward role, anyone we bring in would have to be a pretty special talent. We have goals from multiple sources – Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck, Wilshire, Oxlade-Chamberlain which takes away a high dependency from a 20+ goal a year Centre Forward. How effective were Chelsea without Costa? How effective were Liverpool without Sturridge? Notwithstanding the mini-drought we had towards the end of the year Arsenal scored 71 goals in the EPL and I would suggest that we’re probably 10 goals better than that when we take into account the slow start and the fade-out towards the season end. We failed to score in 5 games out of 38 in the EPL (vs Chelsea & Man City who failed to score in 3).

Average Goals per Game 1.87 (Chelsea 1.92, Man City 2.18). So what would a new top striker add to this? 20 more goals a year? Reduce our “failure to score goals in games” from 5 to 3 (recall Man City have Aguero, Dzeko, Bony, Jovetic)?

I have yet to see a convincing argument in favour for a new striker other than emotional boil-overs and off-the-cuff comments when Arsenal let simple chances go begging (“well a world class striker would have buried that one”). We have all seen “world-class” strikers fluff their lines – they are not infallible, they do miss some simple chances. Theo is fit, Giroud is fit and Welbeck is fit – does it make sense to spend 45M on a centre forward just in case two of them get injured.

The Case for Giroud.

If you measure his worth purely on finishing – then you are right…let’s get a better Centre Forward, because he isn’t a “world class” finisher. No argument at all. BUT…I would caution you to consider his overall contributions to goals. His linkup play, his holdup play, first touch and distribution, his ability to draw defenders…this is part of the ATTACK SYSTEM…the goals are expected from all players. If you replaced Giroud with a more clinical finisher you may well take away goals from the rest of the team IF the player replacing him doesn’t do the rest of the 1st and 2nd and 3rd phase attacking stuff he does. So we may go from a 15-18 goal a season from Giroud to a 20-25 goal a season from Mr X..but we may lose goals from the others. Perhaps Sanchez drops to 15 goals a season – still brilliant but how does that positively impact the game-winning ability of the team?

When we “wish” for a better Centre Forward, we need to wish for one who can play in the system and do all the things which is expected of them. Purely looking at goals/game from different leagues is NOT the way to do a comparison. They may play a different system which suits the centre forward but Mr X may not be able to play in our system. Especially when they are 28+ years of age…very rarely will they be able to adapt. So who do we look for?
Centre Forwards – mostly – are selflish animals who want to score the goal…the Centre Forward in OUR SYSTEM needs to be a little selfless and make the right decision between shooting and making the pass – to think of team before self. He has to track back and press up front. There is a work-rate requirement.

So which Centre Forwards exhibit the same traits, playing in teams with a similar approach and who have a better finishing than Giroud? Off the top of my head, I think Benzema is a possibility, I think Cavani maybe one of the rare ones (in spite of his age), I think Falcao is adaptable enough and could do it (but how is his finishing?). I think Lukaku would be a good possibility.

I don’t think Benteke has the right mental makeup (self before team), but could be a workable answer…but is he an immediate like for like replacement who adds better quality in finishing? I would argue that he isn’t.

Lacazette – take out his penalties and look where he scored his goals (nothing against the Top 4 in Ligue 1)… I don’t see him being an upgrade to Giroud.
Jackson Martinez – after so many years in the Portuguese, why wasn’t he snapped up before? His age and bullying lower teams in an inferior league don’t convince anyone right now.

There’s no proven world class centre forward on the market right now, where we would break the bank to bring in and adapt our playbook to fit in..but I am happy to be proven wrong here..i don’t know all the players out there.
So let’s list down the attributes:
Holding the ball
Linkup Play
First Touch
Work rate
Team before Self
Tracking back to defend

Who is a major step up from Giroud?

The Case For Welbeck
I look back at the time Bruce Rioch brought Bergkamp from Inter Milan to Arsenal, and used him as a striker. Bergkamp’s past 2 years at Inter were nothing to rave about. His first year at Arsenal, nothing really special. Arsene Wenger changed all that when he arrived – the style of play and his transformation of Bergkamp (and eventually into a No 10).

Thierry Henry was a winger at Juventus and we all saw how that played out when Wenger brought him over….but it took a few years!

Welbeck, in my opinion, will fall in the Henry/Bergkamp category in terms of successful transition to a new role. There is very little wrong with his physical and technical attributes but perhaps what Arsene won’t say is, the boy needs to develop mentally – when to pass, to take a touch or hit it first time, when & how to strike…this decision making is the missing ingredient. This is just my opinion and how I’ve rationalised playing “strikers-in-the-making” out wide – Playing Welbeck too often (before he is completely ready) as a striker puts too much pressure on this decision-making skills, and the more you make mistakes, the more you doubt yourself. Playing out wide, is a way to develop – you learn to operate with limited space and there isn’t as much pressure to score. You will get chances to take the strikes but the burden is not solely on you for the goals. Welbeck is being moulded into the centre forward he wants to be, but it will take a little more time…he isn’t far off…perhaps next season. It’s a Wenger method he used with Thierry and Walcott and there’s no basis to suggest that it won’t work with Welbeck.

The Case for Walcott
…i don’t think i need to make a case for Theo. We don’t want to lose him. if we did, then we need to look for a speedster replacement and none of the rumour-mill names fits the need.

The Case for The Others

Just quickly on Sanogo…he is still a young man who will need more time to mature mentally to fit his athletic frame. It is way too early to call time on Sanogo – we should look at him in 2 to 3 seasons.
Akpom is coming along very well and could be pushing for the first team in 1-2 seasons.

With Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck (and Sanchez) – we have an excellent selection of centre forwards giving us goal-scoring options, simply adding another would mean one of the 3 has to go, and that I don’t believe that is an option, unless Walcott does decide to move on and then we would be looking for a speedster finisher.

Whom would you suggest? Frankly I would go with a younger (20-22 year old) player with the attributes of team ethic, acceleration, upper body strength, good balance, good passing, quick mind, small ego, and a good finish. Know anyone? (not surprised it sounds a little like Suarez, Aguero, Messi!)


Tags Aguero Giroud lacazette


  1. I disagree.

    Welbeck is not as good a striker as Giroud. Also, Walcott and Alexis are best on the wings. I don’t believe we should experiment. Also Giroud was out for three months and would be fantastic to have another top center forward

    Furthermore, Chelsea have Costa and Remy and could get Falcao. United could get Benzema. So it’s in our best interests to increase our firepower capabilities

    I believe the following players would all be perfect additions
    1. Lacazette (young talented goalscorer)
    2-Jackson Martinez (finished product and 30 goals per season and Arsenal fan since childhood)
    3. Higuain
    4. Benteke

    1. We need depth in quality not just quantity

      ie Giroud, Martinez/Lacazette and Welbeck > Giroud, Welbeck and Akpom

      If we turn Walcott into a centre forward then we should get a top winger like Reus, Greizmann, Sterling, etc.

      1. We need an alternative to Giroud someone younger probably with a lot more potential, I get that Wenger likes him so getting rid of him is not going to be up for discussion with Arsene. In 3 Seasons here he wasn’t a difference maker in us winning a title before would why would he be now? Please dont mention his injury period, because Benteke was out for 8 months missed a world cup and still matched his goal tally in the BPL 2 seasons running and this is the guy leading the line of the attack scrapping there way through survival. The reason why i say someone younger, Giroud hasn’t got long left playing CF, He his turning 29 this year, at best he has 2/3 seasons left in top flight football. So getting someone like Lacazette 24 may be a worthwhile investment both for now and, when Giroud looses form, gets tired or injured and the future when he isn’t capable of competing at top flight football.

        This article shows one thing and one thing alone. lack of ambition. When you want to win titles you don’t write shittttttt like this. The top 4 talk is all gone now. We want to win titles. Danny welbeck has never scored 10 league goals or 15. Giroud in his 3rd sason scored 14 goals in 26 games. Diego costa scored 20 in 26 games in his First season. That is the difference.

        Just look at alexis sanchez. first season and he’s taking games by storm. I want more of that. that is what you need if you want to win the league. What about champions league. Why can’t we aim higher? the lack of ambition from fans is killing me.

        We don’t buy a striker and tell him u play straight away. You have to earn the right to play. You buy a striker and tell him to fight for his place like any other player.

        Just look at How jack and theo reacted to competition. theY gave the manager night mares. Thats how you do it. Gabby has made Per to step up. Gibbs and nacho are fighting. Why should Welbeck or Giroud be giving a a free ride?????

        Enough with this silly article displaying our lack of ambition. We are Arsenal and next season no more excuses. We challenge from the first day to the last day…… enough is enough.
        Why can we not ain for Champions league semi? Chelsea won it with a team that finished 7th. Its all bout having ambition and aiming high. When was the last time we got to the quarter finals???

        We have had a good season. Now we must go to the next level. To do that we need a Worldclass Striker and DM.

        1. Why would anyone thumb that comment down, it’s 100% correct!
          Too many fans content with being also rans, fryer tuck that!

          We are ARSENAL!

    2. I agree with you on everything you say (excluding Benzema to United – I doubt he’s going anywhere in the next couple of seasons). To add to this: The fact that we had to play ramsey on the wing for the last 8 matches of the season clearly indicates we either need a new RW or striker, if Walcott is not to be played on the wing, even when available. We have Ox, one might say, but he’s as injury prone as Walcott and Wilshere, so I wouldn’t have him as the main right wing. To me, Wellington Silva and Campbell are not the Premier League-winning quality we need to buy.

    3. So we are all agreed a front three of Alexis, Giroud and Walcott cannot score enough goals to win the PL. Right. What we need to do is spend £30-40M to bench Giroud with another goal every other game centre forward, doesn’t matter what type of CF but just one who has scored a few recently, or whose agent is active at the moment, or has scored a lot in another league, and hope/assume it has no adverse effect on the scoring ability of the likes of Alexis, Theo and other players arriving from deep.

      Lets put Benteke in there for a moment. Thrives on crosses and direct, quick first phase possession and is bang average in any of the finer points of link-up play. Has spent his career as the sole focal point for his sides. First off Walcott and Alexis don’t/can’t cross. Second up we don’t do direct – for better or worse – might be an occasional option but he’d be better off at United with his game. And the likes of Ramsey wouldn’t bother running in to the box – nullifies half his game. If we want Benteke we should bring Jenks back who has a decent cross, maybe buy Burnley’s Trippier or maybe Milner, he has a decent cross, would have been a decent option which we have missed. And then we would have to worry as to how on CB’s biggest day he got owned by our own BFG – the worst defender in PL history if you want to believe some on here. All yours for £32.5M.

      Let’s sell OG by all means and bring in a different type of CF but you really need to give a moment’s thought to the rest of the team, shape, system etc. And if I hear Alexis described/labelled as a “winger” once more I swear I will cry. He players relatively wide when going backwards but narrow as f**k when going the other way. He is NOT a winger – he is a secondary forward/striker playing pretty much anywhere he wants in a very fluid system. Ditto Theo. NM and HB are our “wingers”. And Alexis scores more goals than JA’s cult hero Diego Costa and never forms part of the striker/forward discussion on here – is it because some like their ducks all lined up neatly in a row and don’t like the asymmetry or irregularity of the CF not being the chief goal-scorer. Bayern, Juve and Chelsea all won their leagues with main strikers on 20 goals or less but with reliable goal scorers elsewhere on the pitch. Barca and Real get their majority of their goals from sources other than their CF.

      If we want a clever CF who will be great in our system, link seamlessly create and score and be a big step up from Giroud lets talk Lewandoski, Rooney or Ibra. If want to chase other CF types then lets talk about changing our system of play as well. Around £35M would get us either Higuain or Benzema (assuming they are available, want to come etc). Higuain would get us an extra 7 or 8 goals over Giroud every 100 games and Benzema a little less (look at career goal/game ratios) – unless you are going to tell me they can score more at Arsenal than they could at Real Madrid/Napoli. Would there be any downside to this? Goalscoring opportunities for others? Teams defensive capabilities when backs to the wall? Work rate?

      I would like a better CF than OG – who wouldn’t want better than they have got in any position? But lets have the full discussion – not this “any big name” cut and paste bulls**t.

      1. As usual I find myself agreeing with you again. It’s amazing how well OG can do with a simple cross. Ox comes on and crosses against Villa and a goal becomes of it. Sanchez you are right won’t cross and Theo can but doesn’t. Our wings are MB and NM. They are not great at crossing either.

    4. I must say a well written article, most of the stuff were true, but if we are to consider Sanchez and Walcott as strikers we need to buy a natural winger and we really need a dm, we still are going to need two world class players. A winger and a DM. But if we go on and use Theo on the wing we can sign a quality striker.I say we get a top striker

  2. Wellbeck compared to Bergkamp.
    I stopped reading.

    Wellbeck has heart, strength and pace.
    He does not and IMO will never have skill, touch, vision, technical ability or the eye to score goals (unless tap ins).

    We need a CF as you mentioned such as Cavani (my pref) or Martinez as at least they are proven ‘goalscorers’. Wellbeck scored 4 goals…4!

    Yes we have attacking options on the wings (sanchez) and in CAM and Giroud is doing an admirable job and Walcott could do a job down the middle but if we want to win more games and finish top, as well as having goals from the rest of the team we need a demon who will bang in 25-30 goals for our goal difference and to pounce when it’s tight and that 1 chance falls your way.

    Like Bergkamp my arsenal.

  3. At the risk of being unpopular I will say that hiring a “top striker” will only result in Walcott not signing a new contract. He knows he is more or less on equal terms with Giroud centrally and will be used when Arsene deems speed and movement are required. With the arrival of a superstar Theo would know his game time would be even more limited.

    To me the logic step is the hire a RW or use Ox/Gnabry/Welbeck there but:

    -Ox is injury prone
    -Gnabry lacks first team experience and probably needs a loan
    -Welbeck stats show playing wide is not where he is best used

    1. I fully expect an out-and-out RW to come in under the smoke screen of all this striker talk. We really don’t have one at the moment – one of the reasons we have been playing so well towards the end is that Bellerin is on the right, giving the wide option in the attack. We need width, Sanchez is ok at it but the central players who are drafted for the wing drift too central, remove depth and stagnate the game

  4. This is so frustrating really

    It’s like travelling 100 miles and car breaking down 2 miles from your destination

    We are tantalizingly close. literally a minimum of 2 players from challenging for the Premier League title.

    If we got a top DM or Vidal and a top striker that would be enough. I HOPE Wenger is on the same wavelength

    1. We need to add quality not quantity to the squad. We have a big squad especially in attack, Podolski, Rosicky, Campbell, Arteta, Welbeck, Chambers may not even have a place on the bench if all our players are fit
      But Quality is the hardest part – according to many here – Martinez, Lacazette > Walcot/Giroud, although I dont know how many games we actually watched them. Martinez looks great on Youtube (I watched too) but fact is that he is only third choice striker behind Falcao/Bacca in the Colombia lineup – so to the expert he may not be that great.
      What many don’t get that if we buy a player, and he turns out he is not better than what we have – we may stuck with him for the length of the contract (Baloteli at Liverpool, Soldado at Spuds, Osvaldo of Southampton) – so we can not sign the real World Class one who may become available next season.
      Let the manager do the job, he had proved in the last 2 season – most of his purchases are really spot on. Long way to go until deadline day, we may find someone interesting in the Copa America – or some big player being made availalble due to transfer domino effect – Pogba transfer?

      1. “We have a big squad especially in attack, Podolski, Rosicky, Campbell, Arteta, Wellback and chambers”

        Podolski I doubt will ever play for us again.

        Mozart is a fine attacking midfielder

        Campbell – awol and not up to it

        Arteta and chambers?????

        Your right Risk is involved as in all business and Wenger has risked and failed on occasion most notably Wellback and campbell IMO but if we don’t think BIG we will never be BIG!

        1. “if we don’t think BIG we will never be BIG” – I fully agree with you
          The point is all the names linked to us are not really BIG – like we fan (influenced by media) make them to be – and demand the club to spend big money on them. Given the lack of availability of top proven attacking players such as Benzema, Reus, Lewandowski – we fan demand the signing of
          – Martinez – 29 years old soon – never play in top league, 3rd choice striker Colombia team
          – Lacazette – top scorer in French league (Giroud was when he joined us too) – I like him – but is he the ready title challenger material? Not in a few season – and not at the price 50M Lyon is asking
          – Higauin – what did he win for Napoli?

          If Wenger does take risk, should risk it on bigger name – not at above average penalty box poacher like Martinez/Higauin or potential young player like Lacazette
          We have a top squad – the second half run is title wining form – keep the squad intact and injury free is the top priority

  5. I understand your case, but let’s be real. Yeah you mentioned that we only failed to score in 5, at difference of Man city and Chelsea, who only failed to in 3. The thing is that those two games of difference were against Chelsea. We need the new striker, not because Giroud is not good, he is, but is he the striker that will win us that kind of match? He is very good, but we need a match-winning striker. Costa, Rooney (when ManU won the league), Suarez, those are strikers that do what I mean.

    We do have players that can make that kind of difference between winning or losing a game, in Alexis, Santi, Ramsey, Ozil. Those are our match winners imo. Once we sum a world class striker to these, I believe we’re up for it. We obviously need a DM and perhaps a GK, but the one tht will make the difference, the one that must be bought to enter straight away into the lineup is a striker. Giroud is good, I like him as a player, Walcott seems good in the position aswell, but I;m not sure he has proven himself there yet, and Welbeck is a good squad player. We need that top-class striker. It’s the difference between failing to pass the round of 16 in the UCL or giving a real challenge, and the difference to losing all title hopes in March/April or challenging to the very last day.

  6. did Barcelona really need suarez? no but he was a fantastic player whom can fit into their system and improve them. and we should do the same. And I don’t mean we should buy overpriced players.

    1. That makes complete sense. If you want to win trophies (especially PL and CL) you need to go beyond what you need. And we don’t need to get Pogba, Bale, Messi etc to do it.

      Barcelona didn’t need Suarez as you said but Messi,Neymar and Suarez are a deadly combination. So nothing wrong with increasing depth of quality in certain areas

    2. Well some say they did – that hadn’t had a properly functioning CF for quite a while – probably Eto’o was the last (left in 2009) and maybe Kluivert before that. Messi as false 9, toyed with Villa in there and even played Fabregas there on occasions. But the team got by on sheer talent and Messi.

  7. In last 4premier league matches against Chelsea, we haven’t been able to score. That shows our inability to break experienced tight defense.

    Now Lacazette might be good. But the French league goalkeepers aren’t up to the mark. So I would not want to go for the title with him.

    I think Benzema and Cavani fit the bill. They both play for teams which aren’t based on them.

    I agree about Martinez. Most of us watched him during World Cup only and he wasn’t a hit.

    If Theo were taller, we could have relied on him totally. But he isn’t. Sánchez as a CF wasn’t as good as he is as a winger.

    We are so close to becoming a top team. Arsene has done a wonderful job losing his best players continuously. (Look how Liverpool and Spurs in last season performed losing their best player)

    One top forward and a DM cover for Coquelin will do for me. It doesn’t have to be big name like Vidal, Schneiderlein, Kondogbia for me although those names will make me happier. But a Wanyama will make me happy and excited too.

  8. Although I think Giroud has improved lately and has a lot to offer I am concerned that he does not do well against top CBs. He rarely scores and his link up play and holding play is too easily disrupted by confident CBs marking tightly. Could he improve even more – may be not. Can Walcott do the biz in these crucial games? Possibly but again unproven – not his fault as he has been injured. think it is a risk relying on Giroud/Walcott with occasional stints from Welbeck to get us competing and winning against the top teams in EPL and Europe.

  9. This is one of the few sensible articles posted here, unfortunately you are throwing choice food to the pigs.

    1. “Choice food to the pigs”
      now that’s the sort of comment tha goes down really well!!!I th article a well witen but tter B@llcks
      if anyof the afore mentioned weregood enough to have won us the EPL then tey would have nd that’s tha , They didn’t s improvements NEED to be made on what we have and that’s a fact we wont need to improve until we’ve won the CL .

  10. BTW

    Would love to see Buffon Win his first CL Trophy
    He has been so loyal to Juventus even when they got relegated. Best GK to never win CL??

  11. Along comprehensive article, well composed and well informed and very well argued, HOWEVER I will say what Ive been saying for months and that’s this Welbeck is NEVER gonna be any better than he is now he’s not got an eye for finish, he’s not ruthless enough when pulling the trigger and that’s instinct and not something that can be taught, he’s not good enough now and he never will be. you wont find Real Madrid biting our arms off to sign Danny Welbeck in three seasons time and you can quote me on that.
    Olivier Giroud an excellent player and when on form is as good as anyone in any league, however his consistency is that of a rice pudding as was proved in the first Monaco game he misses the sticks as much as he doesn’t and while I in no way condone selling him I really do feel that competition for the front spot would sharpen his mind and his game and that can only be good thing.
    Ya ya Sonogo ……….will never be of any use to us he not got the instinct or the finish and while he is still young he should have developed that instinct by now, again I’ll bet my house that in two years he’ll be no different to what he is presently.
    Another PROVEN striker will not only add to the goal tally that was cited in the article but also give us options if plan a) is not working or the players are injured or not performing it CAN ONLY BE A GOOD THING
    You would think the author was Ivan Gazidis himself the argument he put across, its simple as this we are closer now than we have ever been in the last ten years if we don’t make that final step then the competition will and we’ll be back where we were five years ago.
    If this current team was GOOD enough then we would have won more and that is also a fact.
    We don’t have three or four seasons to allow certain players to improve we need results now If Sanofo was to become the Thierry Henry you say he may be by the time he is the rest of the team may have gone downhill. Such is the money in football that the results need to come now, NOT in three years or five years or ten or twenty, NOW!!!!!!

  12. Great article. Especially the part of OG getting the midfield involved. He works so well with back to goal that it brings the best of Jack and Aaron.

  13. I do agree with this article. It makes a few points which I have been thinking about for a while. HOWEVER I do believe a new centre forward is necessary as competition for Giroud.
    Walcott is not a CF no matter how much he wishes to be. That is not to say that he can’t play the position but there is not a single top team that would buy him to be their 1st choice.
    Sanchez is simply better on the wings although he also has the capability to play CF at times against certain teams.
    Welbeck is not a good enough finisher to lead the line. This may change in the future but for now I believe he is also better cutting in from the wing.
    Akpom and Sanogo are simply too young and experienced

    So who do we sign? The eternal problem.

    Lacazette – Not an upgrade IMO. Performing in France can be different from the premier league. I also don’t believe there is anything he offers upfront which sanchez and walcott could not if needed.

    Cavani – My preference as I think he has all the attributes to improve on Giroud if needed. Unfortunately he is already 28 and would cost in excess of £40m. Not a justifiable price tag and any striker who comes in should be for the next few years at least.

    Benteke – another favourite of mine however his goal drought earlier in the season makes me question his ability to adjust his tactics, which will be necessary to play for arsenal.

    Falcao No. Just No.

    Benzema – Has scored 22 goal this season at real madrid. Not exactly the 30 goal striker everyone has been crying out for.

    Higuain – perhaps our best option but is he worth the reported 40mil? more importantly will Wenger pay that? (If you’re still confused the answer is no)

    So in conclusion….we’re screwed really

  14. Aubameyang?

    He can play out wide on either side as well as upfront, as Theo is being moved into a CF role then we need someone who can perform on the right.

    Ramsey hasn’t impressed me on the right, he has done well… for a B2B he has done very well but we need a wide player. No disrespect to Ramsey, he is one of the best players in the world when he is on form playing through the middle.

    We only really have Alexis, Welbz and The Ox who we can truely trust to play as a winger, Alexis has claimed the left and I don’t think he will give it up for anyone… He’ll be old and grey and still chasing the ball like a kid 😛
    He will need rests, not as many as others but from time to time we could do with bringing him off or resting him to make sure he is fit and raring to go for big games with that massive hunger of his.

    Gnabry excites me when I watch him drive at opposition but I don’t want to see him ruined by too much expectation, we’re lucky he isn’t English otherwise the papers would of made him out to be Englands saviour or something and piled the preasure on. He seems like a guy with his head on his shoulders from what we can read about him and he could very well surprise us like Bellerin but I don’t want to expect he will step up like Bellerin.

  15. I disagree
    all good teams need atleast 3 good strikers (1 WC, 2 good) if they want to win the title

    as of now we are short of 3 :p

  16. I actually like this article. It raises a ton of talking points.

    I know the idea of a 25 goal a season striker is exciting to most of us, but I also suggested this point in the comments of another article that we have a whole bunch of goal sources. So we’d get 15 from Giroud, 15 from Alexis, 10 from Ramsey (if he plays most of a season) and 5+ from Walcott, Ox, Ozil, and maybe Wilshire and Welbeck. That’s 60-odd goals plus odds and ends from full-backs, Koscielny and non-regulars. So 70 goals or more and more or less parity with Chelsea.

    We have the firepower in terms of scoring enough goals over a season (but of course, more firepower would be even better!), but it’s during those matches against very well set-up teams that we NEED to score, and often have failed to do so. I would rather we beat a lower team 3-0 or 4-0 and got a couple more 1-0 wins in other matches, than beat a lower team 6-1 and draw blanks against stubborn defences. It feels like approaching boiling point, then someone suddenly switches off the hob and chucks a bucket of ice into the pan 😀

    I’m sure we can all agree that is very frustrating… However, we have seen an improvement against the big teams with a memorable tactical masterclass against Man City (which we could have won 4-0), an FA Cup victory at Old Trafford where Coq handled Fellaini adeptly and predatory counter attacking instincts won us the match, and we’ve got the ability to retain a major trophy.

    So we have the players to score a range of goals — headers, set pieces, tap-ins, placed shots from the edge of the box and rifled thunderbolts from 20 yards or more. We just need the tactics to create the space and opportunities, and to find ways of creating avenues for our goal scorers. Even Aguero and the likes find it tough with 8 opposition players (and their own team-mates) crowding the box. Aguero’s goals so often come from clever runs into pockets of space and clever through-passes to find him. There’s something we can learn from here, and given that Wenger can be as tactically astute as anyone when he wants to be, I think he really needs to show that flexibility in encouraging defensive teams to come out against us, even if it seems like a risk. Our centre halves (even Mert) are more often than not perfectly equipped to deal with attacks when they’re not isolated or caught out on the halfway line.

    I think tactical nous on a match-to-match basis can be married in with the Arsenal “way” and attractive football generally. Remember how our teams of the late 90s and early 2000s could grab something out of nothing from a counter attack after being under sustained pressure? That ability also tied in with our title wins and whilst the game changes and formations go in and out of fashion, the principles of engineering space when attacking and narrowing space when defending have existed as long as football has existed.

    1. Nice piece of level-headed analysis. Strikes me that the fan-base is divided as how best to improve performance to a level sufficient to win the PL (or put in a proper challenge at the very least). There is a wide spectrum of opinion, from inserting a new 4/5 man spine in to the team, to lesser variants seeing Giroud and Coquelin upgraded and side-lined, to those who think we can tweak our way there with essentially with what we have now with perhaps just 2/3 squad additions this summer.

      The first approach is the high cost/high risk one – the natural pick for the instant gratification that will appeal to those with low-patience thresholds and a keen sense of entitlement. I think a lot will depend what is on Wenger’s mind and how long he senses he has left. With perhaps 2 years left I think he will be keener to leave a decent starting point for his successor than he will be to risk all for a final blaze of glory – it is just the nature of the man. I expect him to continue the “slow burn approach” with perhaps one top name this summer and some squad tweaks. And like you I expect greater improvements will come from the growing cohesion, ever increasing confidence and better balance and tactics on a game to game basis – and more luck with injuries. This is obviously boring stuff but we did not need a Cavani, Pogba, Hummels and Cech to enable us to beat Swansea, Stoke, Soton, Spurs etc. Reverse those results and we would have amassed 90 points.

      We would probably need more players of the calibre of those mentioned to have shot at the UCL but that is a different story for me – I want this team to walk before it can run and win the PL first.

  17. Arsenal don’t need a striker in the summer as far as am concerned. But they need a top quality right winger and a top quality left back including a top quality DM. Arsenal need only those 3 top quality additions to properly balance their starting XI. Giroud is the Arsenal’s resident striker and Walcott and Welbeck playing as strikers too for the Gunners in rotations will complement Olivier Giroud and solidify Arsenal striker position efficiently in the summer outbursts of attacking football by the top 6 teams. All the Boss would need to do is, play 1 out of the 3 as a striker per game with 1 out of the remaining 2 on the bench as a sub in rotations week in week out. And believe you Gooners and me, we will witness dynamite striking at goal from those 3 strikers. Arsenal already have adequate depth in the striker department. Why buying a striker then. I take Sanchez to mostly striker from the left while Wilshere strikes from the right wing in conjunction with the new right winger. And Oxchabo can complement Ramsey effort at the middle of the park with the new DM first mostly paring Coquelin at DM job. Cazorla, Ozil and Oxchabo will first run the show as the Gunners AMDs until Sanchez is back from his extended holidays to rest the Ox. Oxchabo plays better from the left side than from the right side. With those 3 new singings or internally upgraded Gunners. The Gunners will be ready to fly above their rivals and they will certainly fly above them.

  18. i believe , in addition to giroud , we need a natural born striker with a killer instinct who can sniff a goal a mile away . sadly , giroud is not a natural born striker as was proven over the past year or so , he has improved immensly since he arrived ,yes !, but he is not that sniffer who can poach a goal in the blink of an eye . he will hold up play , yes , but more often than not he will hold up the entire team with his slow play , i am not a fan of his by any means . but , on the other hand , he can score some sweet goals . he would need to improve the same again to impress me . but it could be worse , we could have the great dane as our main striker , omg , heaven forbid .

  19. cant see wenger adding another CF is walcott is handed that role…but do need another attacking option so need an aguero type player cutting in from the right…suggestions?

  20. In truth i do not think we need much if any at all, to win this league, most essential is for our players to stay injury free, play the players where they should play and stop treating the league as if it is a developing platforms for players, we are at the point where we got to have the title.

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