It is exasperating for an Arsenal fan such as myself to see another big star poised to leave the club, leading us back to square one. It is frustrating that every advance made during the season is seemingly swiftly rebuffed after it.
For example, last season Arsenal F.C beat five of the top-six clubs at the Emirates, without the services of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Of course, this was mainly due to the excellent form of Robin Van Persie scoring 30 goals, but, for a season widely considered a failure, the head-to-head results make interesting reading.
Arsenal 5-3 Chelsea
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Arsenal 1-0 Man City
Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham
Arsenal 3-0 AC Milan
Of course, this was contrasted by defeats of Swansea, Fulham et al, but nevertheless, it is significant. There are obviously some rough edges to smoothed over, namely a stronger squad to compensate for the shaky starting eleven. The technical and tactical expertise of Arsenal players does bode well, even in what was considered a shaky season by their standards.
In light of these facts, it seems apparent that the problem is not so much the strength of the starting eleven, but the players on the bench. Considering that there was no viable alternative to Robin Van Persie's goalscoring, it was a coup by Arsene Wenger to buy the likes of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to complement the Dutchman, for less than 25 million.
Technically speaking, both strikers have scored more than 15 goals in what can be considered top European Leagues. Both have also carried their teams to some extent. Cologne was relegated, even with Podolski scoring 18 league goals.
Montpellier were Champions of Ligue 1, with Giroud scoring 21 league goals, as well as providing nine assists—more than anyone at his club.
From a tactical perspective, Podolski is used to playing on the left as well as upfront. Of course, due to the lack of quality at Cologne, he played upfront regularly. But, he would likely play on the left due to the relative quality Arsenal have upfront.
Likewise, Olivier Giroud's style of play is that of a technical target man. Giroud wins the ball in the air as well as anyone in Europe, and looks to lay it off to players running on, explaining his high number of assists.
He has excellent technique with the ball in the box, able to shoot or create space with his feet around many defenders. This is suitable for the situations he is likely to come up against in England. Giroud could hypothetically be playing ahead of Van Persie and assisting him from there.
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