With Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck being Arsenal’s two recognised natural centre forwards, are they alone of sufficient quality to help the Gunners lift the Premier League title next season?
The club’s title winning credentials has been frequently debated about, since Robin van Persie’s controversial departure in 2012. The signings of Giroud and Lukas Podolski, who both arrived that same year, were intended to adequately replace the void left by the flying Dutchman.
These intentions were clear when you consider the fact that Giroud, was named top goalscorer in French Ligue 1 the previous season, and not to mention Podolski’s well known reputation for a lethal left foot in front of goal. But now 3 years on, the club are still facing the same kind of dilemma.
In defence of Giroud, he has noticeably improved over the course of his three seasons at Arsenal, scoring 16 Premier League goals in the 2013/14 campaign – 5 more than in the previous – and picking up the March player of the month award last season, with just two less Premier League goals than before. Had the Frenchman not been ruled out for 3 months, who knows how many goals he could’ve netted for Arsenal.
On the other hand, Podolski has noticeably declined, managing only 8 league goals before the World Cup and just a handful of appearances last season. The signings of two new strikers was inevitable really, after sealing the very exciting services of Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez, and the shock acquisition of Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck.
Again, the two signings in comparison to each other have been a hit and miss – the hit being obvious between the two. Sanchez has dazzled English football with 16 league goals in his debut campaign, and 25 in all competitions since making his switch from Spain. This form comes from a player primarily used on the wing.
Welbeck though has only managed 4 league goals, coming against Aston Villa, Hull City, West Brom, West Ham and missed the rest of the season since his FA Cup heroics at Old Trafford, back in March.
Although he’s shown signs of an energetic and powerful player with some impressive showings mostly on the wing for Arsenal, his goalscoring consistency and injury problems are yet to be ironed out. He’s a player who came from Manchester with a point to prove, and one could argue that he still is yet to prove that point, as a ruthless goalscoring centre forward.
It’s no secret Arsenal have failed to sustain a significant title challenge, as a consequence for lacking sufficient world class talent up front, with many questioning Giroud as the man to lead the team to title glory.
Despite that though, it hasn’t been a bad couple of years for the North Londoners, with two FA Cups and a Community Shield to their name – defeating former league champions Manchester City convincingly for the latter – with Giroud getting on the scoresheet more than once against the big clubs last season. But will another FA Cup suffice for Arsenal next season?
The club have been linked with the some of Europe’s best current strikers; Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Imbrahimovic of PSG and Porto’s Jackson Martinez. The out of favour strikers at the club, who are tipped for summer exits would make room for a new recruit. Podolski, Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell all falling under the firing line.
However, although any addition would only bolster Arsenal’s attacking ranks, one has to consider what kind of message that would send out to Welbeck, who’s only been at the club for a year with intentions to challenge Giroud up front.
The club could gamble by waiting until January before making significant decisions then, in order to give Welbeck more time to prove himself. As for now, the priority should be on tying Walcott down to a new deal and offloading the deadwood up front.