I know a good-looking Frenchman when I see one. Olivier Giroud, in the short time that he was on the pitch convinced me that he is a good striker
Go bring us some trophies son!
I decided not to write this article immediately after the home goalless draw against Sunderland on Saturday. Yes, I was filled with disappointment like every Arsenal fan, but then again I was filled with hope for the season ahead. Put it another way, I think I can spot a good player when I see one or two... or even three...
The departure of Robin Van Pussie is seen by most as a catastrophe in the attacking areas for Arsenal. Yes he is a quality player and all that but the truth lies here: All strikers are only as good as the supply they receive from their team-mates. There are only two strikers in this world who are genuinely capable of (occassionaly) creating chances for themselves and these are messers Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. But even they cannot thrive without the support and supply of teammates.
This is where I think the loss of Robin Van Pussie will not be such a huge loss for Arsenal. Already we have signed Santi Cazorla who is clearly a very good creative player. Cazorla is mobile, quick, intelligent and packs a shot in both legs. Sunderland set Cattermole to mark him throughout the whole game but like all good players, he still managed to find space and cause problems all afternoon. He was still orchestrating our attacks throughout the entire afternoon. Cazorla has been given a free role and I think this will suit him perfectly.
When we lost the ball, Podolski was dropping deep into midfield to support the team but was suddenly popping up in the Sunderland box when we attacked. Once the team finds its rhythm , I expect Podolski to start banging them in weekly.
I know a good-looking Frenchman when I see one. Olivier Giroud, in the short time that he was on the pitch convinced me that he is a good striker. The highlight has been his miss when put through on goal by Cazorla, but how many great strikers don't miss chances that are even easier than that one? What encouraged me was his movement and ability to evade the off-side trap. Adebayor anybody...?
We all know about a certain Gervinho and he had a wonderful game on Saturday. Gervinho too needs to push on from last season. One man who I think we can improve on is Theo Walcott. Walcott is a good player to have in an open game because his sheer speed will get him past defenders. However, we know that most teams come to the Emirates to pack their train in front of goal. In such games, Walcott is useless because he possesses no tricks to get through tight spaces. I am not suggesting that we sell Walcott, but I would not lose much sleep if we did sell him and would go on to suggest that we get another winger/striker who possesses a bag of tricks to use in tight games. We do have Oxlade-Chamberlain who can play there but I think we need a more experienced player to help take the pressure off Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Football is about tactics and one of the greatest failures of recent Arsenal teams has been lack of variety in attack. When teams come and pack the train, we fail to break them down with our tippy-tappy. In such games, a traditional winger is required, who can just run to the line and ping in cross after cross for the strikers. The lack of such wingers and wing play is the reason why Marouane Chamakh has not made an impact at Arsenal.
I do not know much about Sahin, but those ITK say he is a deep-laying creative midfielder. I can understand why Arsene would want to sign him. Our game is based on possession and even when we play the top teams in the league, we tend to dominate possession. With Arteta, Sahin, Carzola, Rosicky and Diaby (I know) Arsenal would have a very impressive creative midfield.
The need for a defensive Midfielder is overstated in my opinion. Although every team needs one, I wouldn't lose much sleep if we didn't sign one now. Yann M'vila has been mentioned yet Coquelin can do a job in there. Alex Song was a decent midfield but very often he lacked the discipline of a defensive midfielder and his passing and general decision making left a lot to be desired. Better team organisation and defending when we lose the ball should address the problem of a defensive midfielder as it should not be the sole responsibility of a single player.
When last did Arsenal score directly from a free kick? I would like to see the stats of our free kicks. In the days of TH14, we were almost guaranteed a goal every time he took a free-kick. With our style of play, we tend to win quite a few free kicks around the box and we need to start capitalising on such. This is one area this team can improve in. Cazorla, Podolski and Arteta are all good set-piece specialists.
Arsene Wenger is rebuilding this team. The criticism that we are a young and inexperienced team is not an excuse any more. Just look at how many full-internationals we have in the team now.
Equally, it takes the departure of some for the team to move forward. We didn't win with Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Van Pussie and Song in the side. Time to try something new. This Arsenal team is stronger than the one last year.
Our transfer business is not yet done but you can bet we are genuine title contenders this season already.