Do Arsenal Really need another striker?

June 5, 2015

Well, do we?

There will be many posts through the summer which regurgitate what is trending regarding our FA Cup winners 😀  This is just the first ….

It is the same old argument about Arsenal’s front line but hopefully with a different slant because I do not think we should sign a striker – we have enough.

Let’s look at the menu …… Welbeck, Sanchez (or is it Alexis?), Giroud, Podolski, Sanogo, Walcott, Campbell, Akpom. That is 8 players vying for 2 or 3 places. We have the numbers but do we have the quality?

Podolski is a busted flush, the US League football beckons

Campbell is still young but has struggled at Villarreal – and if he struggles there then he has little chance of establishing himself as a force in the PL. If we can get a couple of mill for the lad, sell, sell, sell.

Akpom. An exciting prospect. Keep him at AFC until January and then loan him to whomever is at the top of the Championship.

Sanogo? I just don’t know. The chap has the physical attributes to be a target man but has he the skills; can he learn them? His loan at Palace was a qualified success, as in he got some pitch time and scored in the FA Cup but on the other hand he could not force himself in the first team. His scoring record for the France U-21’s indicates there is a decent striker in his lanky form. I would keep him and give Sanogo another loan at  – say, Norwich.

Which brings us to the 4 main strikers:

I don’t care what you say, OG is a fine striker and is in the world’s top 10 CF’s. Is he as good as Aguero – No. Suarez – No. But neither is Costa or Cavani or Falcao. It is an unfair comparison. Is he a 20+ goal a season man? Yes, he is. Does he create chances for others? Yes, his link-up play is comparable with anyone. If OG had been fit during that horrible start to the season we would have been closer to the Chavs, of that there can be little doubt.

Theo. We have to keep him. The prospect of a fluid and very pacy front 3 is exciting. Walcott’s injuries have stopped us seeing just how good his partnership with Ozil can be – IMO Ozil will make Theo into a 20 gaol a season man IF he can stay fit. I have always supported Theo and remain convinced he can become one of the PL’s very best players.

So that is already 40 goals

20 more from the Sensational Sanchez or the Amazing Alexis.

Welbeck is more puzzling. The man has so much and yet is lacking so much. He does it for England so can clearly find the back of the net but where and when does he play? As a stop gap whilst Sanchez rests? Can he actually play through the middle? Was Mr Wenger looking at the way Welbz cuts in from the left as a signifier he can become another TH? Perhaps he can. I love his workrate, his enthusiasm and his pace. But.

Let’s be realistic. We are not going to sign Higuain, Falcao, Yarmalenko, the German chap, or even at the French fellow. It is fun to speculate about them but we have some terrific strikers at the club and there are other areas where we can improve.

We have 3 strikers who, if fit, will score 60 goals+ between them. We have MF’s who will score at least 25 between them and defenders who can add another 10. That is close on 100 PL goals. We do not need to spend €50m on a striker (but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?)

 

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To Sanogo or Not to Sanogo?

August 27, 2014

Much is made of today’s game being a Cup Final. It is. A one off game which will determine who goes into the CL group stages.

Unusually the away side are slight favourites given the away goals rule but first they have to score. Can they? Well, we have conceded 3 in our last 2 games and were hardly secure in Turkey where Ba missed a couple of easy chances (or TPIG made a couple of excellent saves). And this Arsenal team have yet to show us that they have developed the fluency we have come to expect.

Then there are the injuries. We have played 3 games and lost a player a game; Arteta, Gibbs and Giroud and given that Koscielny, BFG, Ozil, Podolski and Wilshere look less than 100% we are struggling. I have no doubts we will come good later in the year but right now there is cause for concern.

Much is made of CL qualification as the carrot to ensnare new signing, I don’t completely agree. MU, Spurs, Everton and L’pool have shown this is not true. What attracts players is money (or in Balotelli’s case a team which will accept his “difficulties”). Did Di Maria move for CL games and the resultant profile? That said, qualification allows us to earn the bug bucks which attract the best players and as I have repeatedly written – I want Cavani, Carvalho (or at least an agreement that he will sign next summer when Arteta and Flamini leave) and a CB, all of whom will be expensive.

The loss of Giroud must be seen as an opportunity for the players who will take his place yet Sanogo looks way off the required quality  to win anything (though he has an FAC medal 🙂 ), and Campbell has yet to start a PL game. Sanchez is likely to get the chance tonight, he scored 39 in 88 games for Barca so knows his way to goal.

Just as interesting to me is how Wilshere will play without the need to look for Ramsey. We have discussed at length whether the two can play together and tonight we will see if JW can influence the game in the way we hope. He will need to – Ramsey has scored in 5 of his last 6 games and will be sorely missed tonight.

Mr. Wenger is “bigging up” Oxlade-Chamberlain, I wonder why. Does he think O-C needs a confidence boost? He appears to be a man brimful of self-belief. Or perhaps he wanted someone who is comfortable talking to the media so he could take a rest. Either way it gave us another insight into what a lovely man Ox is – Southampton must be the best place to develop well-balanced, intelligent young players.

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We know how good Besiktas are. We were fortunate to escape with a draw, thanks to fine work from TPIG and strikers who couldn’t find the target even when one on one with our keeper. They work hard in midfield, defend well and are pacy on the counter. I can only recall Ox’s shot which was well saved by their keeper as good chances created by the Arsenal. We could blame the dreadful pitch but it was the same for both teams.

As we are without the experience of Arteta and Ramsey I would like to see Chambers on the bench and a return to the security of BFG/Kos, though given the total lack of pace from Mertesacker in the Everton game perhaps Chambers and Koscielny will be our centre back partnership this season!

Flamini’s role will be vital in a clogged midfield. He is playing in his normal style so far – two games, two yellows. Hopefully Arteta will return before he picks up his first ban.

My Team:

Beskitas home

So … no Sanogo. I just do not think we can go into such an important game with Sanogo leading the line. Mr Wenger is likely to disagree but I would put my faith in experienced battle-hardened players who have performed at the highest level. All the above team have done so and experience counts.

In the highly unlikely event that we are in trouble he can come off the bench and perhaps have a similar effect to Giroud at Everton, though I hope he only comes on for the final 15 when we are coasting.

History shows that we do well in these games, A good defensive display and some luck in front of goal should see us through but please Arsenal score early, otherwise the tension will be unbearable.

Quiz Question: How many consecutive seasons have we qualified for the Champions League proper?

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


We MUST buy a lethal striker?

April 23, 2014

Heard that before? I think we all agree there is a need but this post will investigate a little deeper.

Let’s look at the problem. We have been over-reliant on Giroud, little argument there but why have we been so reliant upon the Frenchman? Because our other strikers have been not performed this season?

Podolski: This is a chap who was a regular scorer in the Bundesliga and for his country; at Kõln his scoring rate was almost a goal ever other game (86 in 181 games), and for his country is the same (48 in 112). What is his rate at Arsenal? 28 goals in 65 appearances . Pretty consistent. What does this tell us about Lucas? In my opinion it says that he is under-rated as a goalscorer – not by Mr Wenger but by the fans. Plus Podolski has been constantly injured starting only 17 PL games this season.

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Walcott: Our top scorer last season and developing into a lethal striker. 21 goals from 43 games  in 2012/13 tells it’s own story, as does 5 in 13 this. In my opinion Walcott could become one of the best forwards in Europe. He has the intelligence and the pace but most importantly he has developed grace under pressure; his finishes are no longer a foot-through- the-ball thrash, they are curlers into the far corner, awesome volleys or dinks over an onrushing keeper – he is the read deal. BUT the man is blighted by injury and not just a single re-occurring problem, shoulder, thigh, knee, foot – he has had them all. Is he unlucky or fragile? Can Arsenal rely upon his fitness when looking at the goal scoring situation?

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Giroud: Not everyone’s favourite but our top cannon. His record in France was 39 goals in 85. First season for AFC, 17 in 47, this season 20 in 45. Pretty consistent and improving.At the moment he is the 7th highest scorer in the PL ahead of Dzeko, RvP, Eto’o, Lukaku, Bony and just one behind Aguero. Crap season? A cart-horse (Clydesdale of course)? Add in 10th in the PL assists and I think OG can be pleased with his work.

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Sanogo: Before coming to Arsenal he had scored at almost 1 every two games  (26 from 55). He was France’s centre forward  and top scorer in their U-20 WC winning team. He has yet to score from 10 appearances for AFC. It is too early to judge but he could be the type of player who once he starts to score cannot stop. The strength, pace, energy and determination are all evident. He just needs to calm down a bit. The jury is out

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Bendtner: What can one say? Best leave it 😀

 

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Attackers out on Loan: Joel Campbell has already shown he can score at the highest level, 21 y.o 8 goals in 21 for Olympiakos and 9 in 31 for Costa Rica is impressive. 20 y.o. Chuks Aneke has a done well at Crewe scoring 16 in 40 – could they step up?

So, given what we have at the club, what do we need? A lethal finisher. But here-in lie problems. Who, how much, where does he play but most problematic of all is that most other teams are looking for the same player.

Chelsea will surely buy a frontman or two or three, Man Utd have serious problems as Welbeck is not consistent enough and RvP is 31, injury prone and unhappy. Man City will sell Dzeko, have wasted millions on Jovetic and are reliant upon Aguero – they will be in the market. So will many of the Oiler clubs around Europe as they look to attract new fans to their “brand”.

Where and how will these teams look to sign their striker? – easy -they look at the top scorers in leagues around Europe – just like we did when we bought Giroud and Podolski (and Sanogo).

As it is certain we will be outbid, both in transfer fee and wages, for the best strikers we have to look elsewhere. Young players with potential to become the next Suarez or Ronaldo, but these players are also in huge demand. Just look at the Draxler situation: The lad is just 20 and yet it seems half of Europe are trying to sígn him. It may well be that Arsenal are in the box seat but if you were him (or his agent) wouldn’t you look at the money? What about the football I hear you say – do Bayern or PSG or City play worse football than us?

What about a British striker? Who? Wellbeck? Sturridge? Lambert? There isn’t one. We just have to look at how toothless the England team is to know the cupboard is bare.

So what is the solution? In my opinion we spend the whole summer looking for the elusive striker – perhaps one will magically appear and at the same time, buy a proper young defensive midfielder who can allow our attacking MF’s to get forward and score. Had Ramsey stayed fit he would have scored as many as Toure.

In my opinion we have the goalscorers already at the club. Our problem has been keeping the guys who supply the ammunition fit. With no Ozil, Wilshere, Walcott and Ramsey, OG was left to fight a lone battle. With no proper DM, Podolski is forced to play deep in his own half – we have seen in recent games how lethal he can be when playing further forward.

If possible add one more, give Sanogo some time and perhaps we will be fine.

Perhaps.

written by Big Raddy