Introducing our new title: Talking Point. In the light of a successful week for Arsenal, they are faced with a new predicament. It’s good news though Arsenal fans, it isn’t a bad predicament to be in at all.
Since Giroud’s remarkable return from injury, he’s been a breath of fresh air for the Gunners. Scoring a high-quality half-volley against United, and juggling up Arsenal’s options in the final third, Arsene Wenger now faces the headache of who to pick: the Frenchman or the inform Danny Welbeck.
Since Welbeck’s arrival, a new style of play has been introduced to the side. Forward pressing from the strikers has proved beneficial when winning the ball in the oppositions danger area, creating a high probability of forcing errors. Himself and Alexis Sanchez have formed a formidable partnership in the role of work-horses, so should one be dropped for the return of the towering Olivier Giroud?
It’s no lie in saying that Arsenal play their best attacking football when Giroud is on the pitch. As much as Arsenal fans hate to admit it, they complain when he’s playing, and moan when he’s not. His hold-up play and link-up style is admirable and contributes highly to the likes of Alexis, Welbeck and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Beneficial to Ramsey last year with late-box runs, we haven’t quite seen the same contribution from Welbeck. Lacking physical presence when dominating possession, Welbeck prefers to take on his man rather than awaiting a runner to create space themselves. It’s controversial but Giroud edges the battle in this sense.
Maybe the key is to start Welbeck most games and bring on Giroud towards the end. Proving efficient when coming of the bench, he’s a game changer. Influencing Arsenal’s late draw against Everton earlier this campaign and scoring just a consolation goal against United, we’ve seen Giroud has the ability to be classed as a ‘super-sub’. He’s different, which helps. After defending against a pacey centre-forward, always looking for holes and spaces, to switch to a middle man capable of occupying one space and laying the ball off to other runners, you’re going to struggle. A tactic that Wenger may continue to use? I don’t see why not.
How do you fit Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, Oxlade, Welbeck and Giroud into one team? You can’t. The trouble is, two of them are always bound to be injured. An array of flourishing, attacking talent, maybe it’s time to partner them up rather than one or the other.
4-4-2 has proved an effective formation over the last year. Operating this tactic in the last two FA Cup games we played, of course with Sanogo in the place of Danny Welbeck, a more direct approach was deployed. Winning us two important games, a mixture of player-type upfront is always handy. Bergkamp and Henry. Aguero and Dzeko. Welbeck and Giroud? Well we’ve seen glimpses this season of a good partnership. The small lay-off from Giroud before Welbeck’s neat finish only to be denied by an in-form Forster. Pace and power in the front line is required at the highest level, so it’s proved they bring the best out of each other.
Welbeck is a natural team player. Giroud struggles sometimes as a lone striker. Add them together, and they both become much more complete. Aiding Giroud, Welbeck provides superb support for the Frenchman, with assists and dragging defenders away, we could see Giroud finally hit 20 league goals. The same goes for Welbeck. The potential to have a mountainous centre-forward provide flick ons regularly might just make Welbeck’s goal tally increase. The potential for a successful pairing.
So the options are there, but the decision is not. A tough one to call, but what might be the outcome? Let us know your views, and we anticipate Stoke; waiting for a further clue whether this partnership may take off.