The Young Guns Column: Can Campbell Be The Answer In Giroud’s Absence?


Arsenal have been rocked this week by the news that Olivier Giroud could be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The full extent of the injury is yet to be revealed but numerous media outlets are suggesting the Frenchman has suffered a broken foot, which will see him out of action for around three months if correct.

Whatever your thoughts on Giroud, personally I’m a big fan, there is no denying the loss of Giroud is a massive blow to Arsenal. The entirety of the Arsenal fan base are convinced that this is the final evidence that Arsene Wenger must dip into the transfer market this week. However, whether that will happen remains to be seen.

With Alexis Sanchez looking uncomfortable in the striking role at the weekend, Yaya Sanogo coming back from an injury problem and Theo Walcott still sidelined, one alternative currently on Arsenal’s books is young Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell. Highly rated by Wenger and the fans, could Campbell be the perfect replacement in the starting line-up for the crocked Giroud?

I believe he may well be. Firstly, and arguably the most importantly, Campbell has experience in the Champions League. Alexis Sanchez has similar but Campbell’s comes from time with an Olympiakos side last season where he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders. Sanchez was surrounded by big players at Barcelona, whereas Campbell’s time in Greece saw him as one of the big names.

Campbell was vastly impressive in *that* game against Manchester United, proving that he is capable of going toe-to-toe with the big teams (yes, United are still a big team) on the biggest stage in Europe. He caused them problems, scored and boosted his reputation.

Furthermore, Campbell enjoyed a successful World Cup with his nation. Costa Rica were the surprise package in Brazil, advancing from the group of death with victories over Italy and Uruguay. Campbell was the sole striker for the majority of the CONACAF nation’s campaign and most of the time he was extremely isolated.

Nevertheless, Campbell was a star at the World Cup and proved once again that he is capable of performing at the highest stage, against the big names, under a lot of pressure. At Arsenal, he will have similar experiences and the fact he has shown he can cope is a massive boost to the Gunners.

The difficulty is that Campbell is a different sort of striker to Giroud. Comparisons can be made between the two French strikers at the club, Giroud and Sanogo, but Campbell is different. Whereas Giroud is more of a target man, Campbell uses his pace to run between the defenders. Rather than wait for the ball, Campbell will run and expect the ball.

This could work perfectly with Mesut Ozil behind him, as the German will spot his runs and put through the balls needed for Arsenal to find the net. On top of this, with Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain running down the flanks the Besiktas defence will be extremely exposed- as it will be difficult to track all three runners.

Campbell can help Arsenal fire themselves into the Champions League group stage past Besiktas, whilst he can also cause problems for Leicester City on Saturday in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger has stated he is set to give a chance to Campbell and this is definitely the perfect opportunity to do so.

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