“Striker Crisis!”: Arsenal fans missing the point – blaming Giroud achieves nothing.

giroud liverpool

Arsenal fans are missing the point over striker crisis – blaming Giroud achieves nothing.

The outcry over Arsenal’s attacking prowess this week has been so demonstrably ill-proportioned that I can’t quite believe it has happened. Wave after wave of unreasonable attacks unleashed upon Olivier Giroud have left a sour taste in the mouth of everybody involved at the club, and fans have once again been left divided over a rather sensitive issue. Negativity has a habit of doing that, I notice.

Perhaps the reason behind such frustration is the annual barrage of footballing urgency as clubs around the world prepare for Deadline Day. It’s a stressful period for fans, as we all eagerly await the necessary bolstering and negotiating completed by the men in charge of our desired clubs. All transfer windows marvel in the propelling of excitement and satisfaction, as well as tension and disappointment. And this particular season has been no different.

As I tweeted (you can follow me @OliverNorgrove) rather sarcastically earlier on in the week: “You’d think Olivier Giroud was at fault for the fact that Olivier Giroud was Arsenal’s best and most natural striker”. As is the case with any player, streams of abuse being hurled in torrential fashion fulfils no real or objective purpose other than to release the anger within a person; venting best directed at club management.

Of course Arsenal should opt for the purchasing of a better quality striker; every team should forever seek to better their chances of success. The best teams do this expertly on a consistent basis, and it is by no means a coincidence. As I mentioned last week, the trick is always to buy when you’re strong, and I think Arsene Wenger should be looking to improve upon his attacking options in the days of the window that remain.

Happy at Madrid

Happy at Madrid

To compound upon this somewhat evident misery, Karim Benzema publicly expressed his desire for Real Madrid to remain his home this week, though of course fans wouldn’t expect him to say anything to the contrary. Whilst I do confess to being a huge advocate of his signing, I do remain firm in my belief that; with, or without Karim Benzema this season, Arsenal will not be winning the Premier League.

Arsenal have a really strong team at their disposal, but it doesn’t come without flaw or failure, however minor they may be. The Liverpool game on Monday night saw yet another flat home performance exercised and much of the post-match reaction predominantly included senseless grillings of Olivier Giroud and what he brings to the Arsenal set-up.

I would, therefore, like to offer some love to Gary Neville at this point in time, for his consistently excellent punditry for Sky Sports. His assessment of our woes at present perfectly illustrates what we need for a strong and credible title challenge. Thank god we have a man on television willing to say what is necessary, and who backs up his arguments with sound and intelligent logic.

Neville bemoaned Wenger’s blatant displays of arrogance and naivety both tactically and in the transfer market, and placed particular emphasis upon his reluctance to supplement creativity with power. I thought his sentiments were so sensible that I can’t believe Wenger hasn’t spotted the problem.

Gary Neville spelling out some hard truths on Sky

Gary Neville spelling out some hard truths on Sky

And this is part of the problem for me. Olivier Giroud is being unfairly burdened with criticism that should, realistically, be aimed at Mr Wenger himself. This summer’s transfer market has been open long enough for suitable depth to be added to our squad, and whilst the signing of Petr Cech was a smart one, it simply isn’t enough. A friend pointed out, rather accurately, to me on Tuesday evening that one position in which Arsenal could do with strengthening is the right-back position.

I’ve always been a fan of Hector Bellerin, but he often lacks the positional awareness that full backs all over Europe possess. Offensively, he is sharp and bright, but his defensive game is the area that needs addressing, and urgently. Whether Debuchy is necessarily an upgrade in a situation like this is, as I’ve said many times before, an entirely different question.

And then comes the obvious lack of depth in the anchor role of Arsenal’s midfield. Last week I wrote a piece on Francis Coquelin (which you can read here) in which I detailed why competition in such a key area will benefit him, and more importantly, the team’s chances of silverware. Should Francis suffer major injury, our options in this part of the field are left significantly weakened through lack of investment. And no, Mikel Arteta will not suffice.

So, I urge my readers, and indeed fans around me on both social media or in the stadium, to engage in a little bit of perspective before arrowing your unnecessary and harmful rhetoric at a player who, actually, can boast a very good goal-scoring record for Arsenal in his first 100 Premier League games. Only Thierry Henry and Ian Wright scored more within their initial and respective centuries.

Arsenal are, as has been eluded to many times in the past, a team only a few bolts short of Premier League or Champions League glory, but now is the time to fulfil that potential. It is time for Arsene Wenger to shed the arrogance and be ruthless while he still can.

And for the love all that is good, please leave Olivier Giroud alone. He’s trying his best.

Give him a break

Give him a break


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5 Responses to “Striker Crisis!”: Arsenal fans missing the point – blaming Giroud achieves nothing.

  1. Chris Norton August 28, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    While Giroud is getting all the flack surely it is Sanchez who has been the real problem in the first 3 games. Against West Ham he essentially wasn’t fit enough to play (not his fault) but in the subsequent 2 games he has missed one golden chance after another. Based upon past performance one could reasonably expect this to change soon, but it can’t be Giroud’s fault if Sanchez misses chances. The breakaway against Palace and the missed 1st half header and hitting the post in the 2nd half against Liverpool would have seen us on the back of a comfortable away win and a home victory against a Top 4 opponent.

    Let’s not forget that Arsenal have only scored 1 goal so far this season (the other was an OG) and it was scored by Giroud. He isn’t perfect but I am still waiting for anyone to identify a player who has actually moved so far this window who would be an upgrade. It isn’t Benteke, Son or Falcao. If Man Utd were to sign Lewandowski / Benzema / Falcao in the next few days then we can rightly throw our toys out of the pram for not competing, but otherwise all of this has just been the equivalent of musings about sleeping with the hot wife of the wealthier guy up the street – she was never going to leave him, so find a way to find your own wife attractive again!

  2. Gareth Murray (@garethcmurray) August 28, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    It appears some fans cannot forgive Giroud for not being Thierry Henry or of course Karim Benzema. He still remains the best option we have up front at present and although he lacks the level of consistency needed to be a World class striker, constantly berating him isn’t going to help him much.

    I was surprised Wenger hauled him off the other night, just like the match against Monaco, he looked like our best bet to get a goal. His confidence levels take a kicking when he missies a few, but I’d love him to take the hands from over his face, stop looking to the heavens, give himself a shake and get on with it.

    I don’t think Wenger is neccessarily arrogant, he’s certainly not as arrogant as Gary Neville, but we all know the way Wenger operates in the transfer market, if he doesn’t get the player he wants he tends to work with what he’s got. I do find it incredible though that we’re a few days from the transfer window closing and we’ve failed to buy an outfield first team option. Even Barcelona who’re banned from making transfers this window have signed players that will not be able to play until January.

    However looking around at some of the players who’ve moved this window there are not too many who you would say are Arsenal quality. United signed Morgan Schneiderlin, who I believe would’ve been more than a perfect addition to our squad. Upfront Liverpool signed Benteke and Ings, both of whom are not Arsenal quality. Chelsea have signed Pedro, but we are already blessed with similar players who come in from wide positions. So who can we sign?

    In the absence of genuine world class strikers available it is possible Wenger will look to convert a wide player to the centre position. Two ideal candidates would be Denis Cheryshev of Real Madrid, who’s most recently been loaned out to Villarreal and Julian Draxler, a name associated with us for a couple of years now. I suspect one of these players will be an Arsenal player by Tuesday evening.

    In midfield, I’ve seen the Spanish press today linking ex Barcelona youth player Jonathan dos Santos to Arsenal. Currently at Villarreal, the Mexican is a no nonsense tough central midfield player. I’d also throw Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko into the mix, while not essentially a DM, he does pocess the power in midfield that Mr Neville believes we lack so much.

    If folk are expecting that by Tuesday night, we’re going to have Cavani or Higuaín or even Lars Bender, I think they’re going to be bitterly disappointed.

  3. The cabbie August 28, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    Full backs that defend seem to be a dying breed. For years I heard that A.Cole was the best fullback in the world and I could never understand why,Mr Cole was not a defender .Having played at left back I would always judge my game on how many crosses came from my side of the pitch ,and two was two to many. A.Cole would allow his wing players get 3-4-5 in a game,far to many.
    Dixon and Winterburn come home please

  4. lohnmower August 28, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Isn’t the problem Wenger himself. He does not use the speed in his size and he does not use the open space on the pitch. We create such a compact space in the left attacking third that to score a goal we would need to sign a pinball wizard, not a striker.
    In the preseason we saw the speed on display and it was amazing. Now we see the ticky tacky Wenger game that does not scare opponents nor score goals.

    • Dave Seager August 28, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

      Agree completely. Ox and Theo for Ramsey and Giroud please. Editor

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