Blog by: Pratyaksh
Arsenal were linked with a host of strikers including the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez, Karim Benzema and Wayne Rooney. The Gunners were interested in getting the signature of at least one with the help of the £70 million budget they were reported to have. Come September 3rd though, Arsenal failed to do so and had only Olivier Giroud as their fit world class striker. This though, I think, would prove to be good for the club. Here are the reasons to support my statement:
1. Olivier Giroud is in-form
The Arsenal number 12 is enjoying a solid start to his second season at the club, recently scoring the winning goal in the all important North London Derby. After taking one season to adapt to English football and netting 17 times, this season, the Frenchman has already found the net four times. The former Montpellier striker has finally found his feet at The Emirates this season with better hold-up play, link-up play and finishing. After much criticism last season, Giroud is looking an able replacement for the man who moved up north to Manchester United.
If Arsène Wenger had signed in a top name striker, the ever improving Giroud would have been put back to the bench, resulting in his impressive progress being hindered. It would’ve been a similar case to that of Maroune Chamakh’s, who now spearheads the Crystal Palace attack.
The Moroccan international started his career brightly but the return of Robin van Persie to the Arsenal line up ruled Chamakh out totally from the first team picture. As a result, he only featured in the Capital One Cup games, and due to a drop in his performances, he left the club after being labelled a ‘flop’ by the Arsenal faithful. A similar case could have been for Giroud, but as of now, he is firing and his place is secure.
2. Theo Walcott’s striker desire
Theo Walcott has come out many times in the media since the start of his career, revealing his desire to play upfront in the centre forward position. The Englishman has always wished to play as a striker, and believes that he would be perfect as Arsenal’s target man. The introduction of Olivier Giroud last year, though, has limited his chances to lead the line. He has had his chances and has responded brilliantly against teams which hold a high defensive line, but is anonymous when facing a deep lying back four.
Signing another striker would have hampered Walcott’s chances even more. The Englishman signed a contract extension last winter as Arsène Wenger agreed to play him as a striker when the time was right. Signing a striker would have pushed him down the pecking order, whereas he would now relish the chance to play centre forward later this campaign.
3. Lukas Podolski’s place in the squad
Lukas Podolski would’ve been another victim if Arsenal had secured the signing of a striker. The German was also signed last summer, and played most of the season out on the left side of Arsenal’s front three. The former Cologne and Bayern Munich man is a lethal finisher and suits the Arsenal style.
Already due to the signature of Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski will find starting opportunities hard to come by. If another striker would’ve been added to the squad, it could’ve been difficult for him to accept the role of a rotation player or a permanent substitute. When Giroud is rested, suspended or injured, Podolski would be the favourite to replace him in the starting XI.
4. A possible change in formation
Arsène Wenger might have changed the Arsenal formation after signing a new striker. He might have started both the new recruit and Olivier Giroud up front in a 4-4-2. This would’ve been a change in Le Prof’s system, and whether it would work or not would’ve been a 50-50. Either way, after establishing his own mixture of the 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 systems, a changed would’ve have only affected the Gunners in a negative way.
Since the players are well adapted to their positions and roles in the team, the Gunners are at their best in this particular formation. This was illustrated when Arsenal beat Tottenham last week, as the white half of North London brought in too many faces in and were still adapting to the way of playing. A change in system would’ve been the worst case scenario for the Emirates side.
Arsenal would certainly benefit from one less striker at the club individually and as a whole team as well. At the moment, we’ve got Olivier Giroud, who is on fire and has looked to fill in any holes in the goalscoring department. A 20 goal season for him won’t be a bad bet. Who knows? Perhaps he may end up scoring around 30 goals this season. That remains to be seen.
Enjoy the international break.