Arsenal played what was probably the most complete ninety minutes of football this season in the EPL, beating Newcastle 4-1. But winning combination I hear you say with fingers hovering over the keyboard at the ready to disagree – are you sure? Irrespective of what a good job Debuchy did on the day or just how much more comfortable Bellerin now looks after a run of games — the defense was clearly make shift at best.
This alone will surely make some question the assertion that Arsenal have found the winning formula. And further, how could this statement be true when we had Oxlade-Chamberlain who might be winning support for his eventual role in the midfield but right now his repeated failure to complete simple passes, always leading to the loss of possession, tells me that he is still some way off making that role his own, yet again suggesting that the claim of having found the winning formula may be wide of the mark.
No, my dear Arsenal supporting chums, the winning formula is the attack and not all of the attack at that, not Sanchez, who I will come back to. The winning formula, the one that galvanizes the whole team, the one that fuses a stop gap backline and a makeshift midfield from brittle iron and carbon into hardened steel is quite simply the combination of Giroud and Welbeck on the field at the same time.
This pairing is the answer; they both take the pressure off the other giving each a greater self confidence and the result is that this radiates throughout the team almost to the point where is doesn’t matter what the rest of the team is made up off.
Not convinced, well let’s look at the games since Giroud’s return? Although, before I do, I need to set the scene and remind you that the preceding game was the uncomfortable loss against Swansea 1-2.
Giroud’s first appearance was against Man U when again we lost 2-1; Welbeck was marked out of game. Big Ollie came on as a substitute and scored a cracking goal. The loss was bitter but most people saw Giroud’s return as the silver lining.
Next up, West Brom away: Giroud and Welbeck start, Danny Boy scores with a header to win the game 1-0. It wasn’t high scoring but there was something different, Arsenal were playing with a far greater sense of confidence. I put that down to the pairing.
Next, Southampton: Welbeck starts with Giroud on the bench, Danny is largely anonymous. Giroud comes on after 65 minutes everything changes and we end up winning 1-0 with a late goal from Sanchez.
Then came Stoke: Giroud starts with Welbeck on the bench (no winning formula) the team fought back bravely but the Chambers red card made it a bridge too far. As for Giroud — he was awful.
Arnie wrote this yesterday: “By the way AAers and other fans that hounded Giro and welcomed Danny that was disgraceful.” To which Rasp wrote: “Which AAers was that?”.
Arnie is completely right. Micky, Kelsey and I are all guilty of this, although, not quite in the way I think that Arnie is suggesting.
Giroud is not good enough; his first touch is poor, he is slow; in short, he will get us top four but we will never win the league with him as the sole striker. Wenger knows this which is why he brought Sanchez and Welbeck in the summer. Anyone who thinks Wenger is happy with fourth place really needs to think about what happened there a bit deeper.
Sanchez is obviously the most exciting player we have but he is so much the lone gun that he doesn’t make a good pairing with any one single player; there is always something missing when he and Welbeck play together up front but add Giroud and we have magic, and oh how we enjoyed the firework display on Saturday. Sanchez is pretty much allowed to do whatever he wants while Giroud and Welbeck can interchange at will, neither feeling pressured and both pulling defenders out of position allowing the other to find space. (Yes, GIE I did read your comment).
The upshot of all this is that I firmly believe that, amongst that incredibly talented squad, the illusive winning combination that we have been in search of all season has now been found. Ladies and gentleman please raise your glasses to Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and success.
Written by LB