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I’m not a mind reader, but would assume there is one of two trains of thoughts going through Arsenal striker Robin van Persie’s head at the moment. He’s looking upon manager Arsene Wenger’s impressive signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud as proof that Arsenal wants to help him out up front, or he realizes they’ve been brought in to replace him. I suppose only Wenger knows the answer to that though and I can’t read his mind either.
But while Podolski has proven himself over the years at both club level and for Germany, with 112 goals in 291 club games and 44 in 100 internationals, Giroud is more of an unknown quantity. He’s scored an impressive 93 goals in 213 club games and has added one in nine matches for France. One thing’s for sure though, I’d like to see these players on the pitch for the Gunners and not sitting on the bench or loaned out like Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela were.
Wenger is going to need to do some math homework though and make sure he meets the 25-man roster rule when it comes to homegrown talent. We’ll likely see Andrei Arshavin leave town along with Marouane Chamakh, and Bendtner. I’m not sure what becomes of Gervinho, but would personally rather have seen Bendtner playing at the Emirates last year than him.
Wenger is going to have to figure out how to get the most out of Van Persie, assuming he stays, as well as Podolski and Giroud. And let’s not forget he’s got Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the squad too. But we’ve all seen what can happen when too many quality players are signed and only so many of them can play. Just look at Man City. Also, we’ve seen top-rated players signed before with a lot of fanfare, such as Chamakh, and they ultimately didn’t deliver the goods.
If the 25-year-old Giroud and 27-year-old Podolski live up to their potential, they’ll help Arsenal a great deal. In fact, so much, that the departure of Van Persie might not be missed at all. Giroud should be able to provide the Gunners with some sort of aerial attack with his 6-foot-3 frame, the same size as Andy Carroll I believe. At the moment, it’s something Arsenal lacks. It should also create more opportunities for Van Persie in the box.
It’s going to be interesting though to see how Wenger distributes playing time to three world-class forwards. Perhaps Podolski will be used as a left winger or Van Persie will drop back to play behind a centre forward like Giroud as an attacking midfielder. That could even be a position the Dutchman prefers. Of course, Wenger could go all out and make the opposition squirm by going with a 4-3-3 system and using Podolski, Giroud, and Van Persie all together as an attacking trio, which is something I’d love to see.
With Arsenal signing Giroud and Podolski, Van Persie suitors may feel Wenger’s ready to sell him, and that very well could be the case. He may just be fed up with Van Persie as he hasn’t given any indication as to whether he wants to stay or not, and could be preparing for life in the Premier League without the 28-year-old Golden Boot winner. Of course, most fans would prefer it if he stayed, but letting this situation drag on isn’t very professional and some supporters might not mind seeing the back of him.
The competition for positions will be quite fierce if Wenger decides to go with just one of his top three up front. If this is the case, the fans will suffer because it means so much talent will be wasted by sitting on the sidelines waiting for the call to warm up as a substitute. To get the most out of his talent, I would urge Wenger to think long and hard about his formation this season so we see the best players on the pitch. If Van Persie’s best position would be as a creative midfielder, then so be it.
Wenger’s job now is to…….. [the rest of this post is for Premium members only]
try out a few different scenarios in the pre-season and see which option is the most effective. While he’s doing it, I’d like to see him stop Van Persie from taking corner kicks. It doesn’t make any sense at all having your leading scorer taking corners. He should be in front of the goal meeting them, not being stuck out in the corner when the ball’s in the box begging to be driven into the net. Surely there’s another millionaire on the club who can deliver a corner kick.
This season should be one to look forward to for Gunner supporters, but the team could still do with a top-notch goalie, a centre back, and probably another defensive midfielder. If all goes well and everybody stays healthy, this could be one of the best attacking sides Arsenal’s put together in years. If they can tighten up a bit in their own end, they’ll be a handful for any domestic and European team to deal with.