For the last two years, Arsenal fans across the world have begged head coach Arsene Wenger to sign a world class striker. However, the Frenchman has turned a blind eye to these pleas, claiming that Olivier Giroud is a top centre forward and that his compatriot is capable of leading the Gunners to the Premier League title.
And if truth be told, most supporters have blamed both Wenger and Giroud for Arsenal’s failings in recent times. The Gunners haven’t won the league since 2004 and Giroud simply hasn’t managed to perform well on a consistent basis. All in all, a large proportion of fans believe that Wenger’s decision NOT to buy a striker cost Arsenal the title last season.
But what if Wenger was right? What if Giroud is a top striker but Wenger’s incompetence and failure to adapt his system to suit the Frenchman has cost Arsenal over the last two years? Well, that is beginning to look like a genuine possibility. Giroud has been exceptional for France at the European Championship this summer, scoring three goals and assisting his team-mates twice in just five matches.
Ultimately, Giroud looks like a completely different player in Didier Deschamps’ system and Wenger would do well to at least consider playing two strikers next season. Not only does Giroud look more at home with two upfront but Leicester City won the Premier League crown playing with two forwards – it is still perhaps the most dangerous formation to play against, especially as opposing central defenders are forced to go one-on-one at the back.
The Giroud-Griezmann partnership has flourished this summer but the emergence of Dimitri Payet has also helped matters. Wenger should follow France’s example this season and play Giroud upfront; partnered by either a new centre-forward or with Mesut Ozil slightly behind and leave Alexis Sanchez to roam around on the wings. That way, the Chilean could be instrumental and equally as effective but Arsenal would also have an added dimension in central areas with the second striker.
At the time of writing, Arsenal are priced at 5/1 to win the title in Bet365’s Premier League betting markets. The Gunners have a decent, organised squad and Wenger simply cannot afford to allow his arrogance to take over and deny Arsenal supporters a genuine shot at the title. With both Manchester clubs about to undertake a transitional year as they adjust to Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, this could be Arsenal’s year to shine.
And who knows, Giroud could be the man to inspire Arsenal to the crown. Twelve months ago, Gunners fans would have laughed at the thought of Giroud leading Arsenal back to the summit of English football but now, it seems like a genuine possibility. If the Gunners are able to sign another decent striker, Wenger can use two frontmen in attack and there is no need to splash an extortionate amount of money on one single world class talent.
Because at the end of the day, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ – and Aristotle’s famous quote fits Arsenal’s current predicament down to the ground. Wenger mustn’t allow his personal pride to get in the way of Arsenal’s chances this season; it simply cannot happen. Sign a striker, play him and Giroud upfront and let Arsenal’s creative stars do the work.
It’s a straightforward plan of action but it is one that could see the Gunners lift the Premier League title at the end of the campaign…