Why Arsenal MUST start this Striker for the Cup Final!

With the much-awaited FA Cup final less than a week away, there has been a lot of debate amongst the Arsenal fans as to who should start for the Gunners when they take to the field at Wembley. While most of us seem to agree that Theo Walcott must start this game, I find it rather interesting that some Gooners want him to take the place of Olivier Giroud. But in my opinion, the Frenchman is another one that must start for Arsenal.

There are two reasons to support my argument. Firstly, Villa are certain to defend with two banks of four and maintain that shape when they don’t have the ball, meaning that it will be extremely difficult for the Arsenal attack to penetrate through their backline. Hence, we have to depend a lot on wing-play and putting crosses into the box, which is why I would prefer for Wenger to start with two out-and-out wingers in Alexis and Theo, with Giroud as the targetman in the middle.

Second, the former Montpellier man’s aerial prowess will be a key factor in defence as well. For a side that will not be expecting to see much of the ball, Aston Villa will rely heavily on set-pieces and the lanky frontman will be a very good asset to have while defending those. Considering the manner in which we conceded the two goals at Hull in last year’s final, you would know that a lot of work must go into defending set-pieces effectively.

For me, the tactics are very simple. Wenger must start with Giroud and depend mostly on wing-play considering the tactics that Tim Sherwood is likely to employ. If we need a goal in the last half hour or so, Wenger can take Giroud off and bring on Oxlade-Chamberlain, moving Theo to his preferred role as a central striker. By this time, the Villa defence will be very tired and it will be difficult for them to maintain the shape, which will make it easy for the Gunners’ frontline to find a more direct way towards goal.


Tags Giroud Sanchez Walcott


  1. I can only imagine what the attack would have been like this year with all 3 throughout the whole season. They all each offer their own attributes, Theo pace and a great shot, Alexis trickery and an outstanding will to win balls back, and Olivier willing to attack every clearance or cross with his head, and charge the near post for crosses. If all stay healthy i could see all 3 with 20 goal seasons.

    1. I know I speak for everybody here when I say Giroud isn’t good enough to the main striker at Arsenal.

    2. yea!…… Play with a front 3 of sanchez, giroud et walcott……. Take giroud off, bring in the Ox……. Didn’t we already agree on that?……da Heck!

    3. To be Honest i hope to see this the last match for both Santi and Giroud. We have a squad with lot of options sometimes which is some say good, but i says its boom as Look at the top teams their core always remains same throughout the season. we have ramsey,santi going for b2b midfielder as of now and if vidal or schiderlin comes to say to arsenal they are another b2b again,another forward also the same situation as we have 5 forwards in the squad an addition makes 6 which is again the under performer giroud has to go. Before we buy we need to sell .

  2. Sounds logical but you know stubborn Wenger…he ll stick to Ramsey on right and bring Theo for last 20 min or so when Villa legs will be heavy & labouring!

  3. and the curse continue bout players leaving arsenal win throphy reyes won the europa league sevilla weve never even win the europa 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    1. Our little baby, Haywill, is here. Now I want you all to be in your best behaviour and agree with whatever he says.

  4. if wenger play Teo,, Girud ,, Sanchez
    up front .. who will he drop from midfield every one including me will say drop Ramsey .
    but with OZil ,, Cazorla ,, and Coq. in midfield will be very Soft. the only suggestion i have is keep the team starts the wesbrom game . and bring in Ramsey and OX for last 30min or so if we are leading or still 0-0..

    1. I like Cazorla in the holding role right now. But, it should be Ramsey’s position in the long run. Cazorla has NOT been soft playing there. Despite his size, he wins the ball back reasonably well and most importantly, the other team pretty much has to foul him to get the ball off of him. Ramsey is a better defender without the ball and maybe slightly better as a defender overall, but Cazorla’s playmaking from this role make him invaluable to the role. Also, Ozil may not be a good defender, but he also rarely loses possession and lately he has helped win the ball back a lot more.

      It’s Cazorla over Ramsey for me, and I suspect that is why Ramsey has been playing on the wing.

  5. I will…..tentatively agree with you. I think long term I would prefer Walcott to Giroud through the middle. I think Walcott can do it very well, but just as the team is set up for Giroud’s hold up play currently, the team would need to be set up for Walcott to make his style work best. The team is currently set up and drilled as a team with a Giroud-type striker.

    Sure, Ozil and Cazorla are going to get Walcott the ball if he plays up front, but the team shape will suffer and Sanchez, Ozil, and whoever is on the other wing have trouble figuring out where to be too often. When Walcott is on, the team creates more good chances and causes a lot more problems for the defense, but without a decent amount of the team training with Walcott in the middle for both his sake and the other attackers, I think Giroud ends up being the better fit at the moment.

    Defense on set pieces should not be relying on a striker to work. That is a big issue that should be corrected. Of course everyone including strikers should defend, but to depend on a striker in that way is just ridiculous. Any defense the strikers contribute should be a bonus. If you can’t handle it without them then please take a look at the defending scheme once more.

    So okay, start with Sanchez, Walcott, Giroud, Ozil, Coquelin, and the normal defense + Szczesny. Who does the last place go to? Ramsey and Cazorla are both playing brilliantly. Both are among our best players at the moment and both cause different issues to opposing teams. Cazorla has absolutely shined in the holding role, but it is likely Ramsey’s position moving forward. Cazorla will allow for better possession. Ramsey’s late runs in the box turn into goals pretty frequently, especially if the team is getting decent shots.

    And then you can even throw Wilshere in. He has been so-so for me lately, which is a huge improvement over what he was last year. As a winger or AM he doesn’t hurt the defense like he does when he is in a holding role, and his runs undoubtedly create chances. He needs to work on his defense and settle back into a holding role for me if he is going to play big minutes in any lineups I prefer, but in short bursts he can provide instant chances. I would almost put him on the left wing right now and let Sanchez rest and come off the bench, but Sanchez does too much off the ball even if he looks a shell of his early-season self.

    I think Walcott and Sanchez are first on my list for the front three, and I guess Giroud is next, but if it isn’t working at least we have some more options now than we have at times. Lots and lots of options.

  6. Theo is our best mover off the ball. He proved he is also one of our most astute finishers. We played against Man Utd, Swansea and Sunderland with Giroud up top and consistently missed chances from every position on the pitch. Theo comes on and creates space and is the one hitting the target and in the WBA game scoring goals. I’m not really concerned where he plays, but Theo deserves his name on the team sheet. That said, I think Giroud is our best striker and should be on too…so play Theo wide.

    For me the team should be:

    Bellerin – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Monreal
    Coquelin – Ramsey
    Theo – Cazorla – Alexis

    I would prefer Gabriel at the back but without the Kos Gab combo tested properly I would prefer Mert…just barely. I fear for him against Benteke.

    As for dropping Ozil – I am having a hard time picking between him and Cazorla. On form it needs to be one of these 2 dropped from the midfield as Ramsey has been playing well. Jack misses out too despite playing well. I think this is a mix of attack and defence that keeps us very mobile and aids our width. Depending on the way the game goes you can make some simple substitutions too in order to change matters – if we are winning by 2 goals, bring on Ozil/Rosicky for Giroud and stick Theo up top, play on the counter. If we’re losing, sacrifice Coquelin for Ozil and blitz them. If we’re drawing with not long to go, straight swaps are possible to freshen team and add dynamism. We’ve got more then enough quality up top that form should be dictating who plays – not who is best on paper on their best day.

    1. The opposite for me. I think we should play Gabriel because the thought of Per v Agbonlahor terrifies me. Kos can handle Benteke. Kos can handle Agbonlahor. But both? I think if we are planning on a possession based game where most of their chances come on the counter with Benteke and Agbonlahor, speed is more important.

      Also, don’t bother dropping Ozil. Regardless of what anyone thinks or says, Ozil is starting if he is healthy. Also, he is playing really well right now.

      Last, re the form vs best player argument: either way you look at it with form or best on paper, Giroud doesn’t make the lineup. And honestly if you are talking about form, Alexis probably doesn’t make the lineup. Then you are talking about a Wilshere-Walcott-Ramsey lineup with Ozil, Cazorla, and Coquelin behind them. I would be ok with trying it out in a less important game – it has its merits – but overall, it looks like a lineup that would have 17 shots on goal to score one goal.

  7. Jack and Theo’s form in just last two games for me it is not well tested, i think we should stick with our best team and bring both on as super subs with Wojciech in goal and may be the OX when the villans are tired. OPINIONS DIVIDED

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