With the dual departure of last season’s leading goal scorer (Robin van Persie) and leading assist man (Alex Song), Arsenal is left with a huge offensive hole to fill.
Arsene Wenger remains confident that the signings of Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski will supplement the lack of scoring, but there’s currently no clear-cut favorite to who will be this season’s top goal scorer.
Nobody expects Lukas Podolski to produce the same numbers that van Persie did, but Podolski netted 18 goals in the Bundesliga last year, and if he can maintain that same pace in the Premier League he’ll help Arsenal stay near the top of the table.
Fewer than 15 goals will be considered a disappointment, but fans have to temper their expectations because it’ll take a while to mesh with his new teammates. Unlike with FC Koln, Podolski is not the sole offensive threat, so his overall offensive numbers will probably decline simply because Arsenal has a diversified attack.
Although Olivier Giroud may not be as well-known as Podolski, he scored an impressive 25 goals last season for the Ligue 1 side Montpellier.
France’s top league may not be the same caliber as the Premier League, but Giroud’s stats are impressive nonetheless, and Wenger’s keen eye for French talent has proved successful in the past. Giroud is the “Sleeper Pick” to be Arsenal’s top scorer this year.
Theo Walcott may finally get an opportunity to play a more aggressive role in Wenger’s offensive scheme, but although he was Arsenal’s second-leading scorer last year, he has a notorious reputation for squandering high-quality goal opportunities. Walcott’s blazing speed does create great chances, but his finishing abilities are poor and he continued to struggle near the goal last year.
Gervinho showed flashes of brilliance during the 2011/12 campaign, and while most of Arsenal’s attack is based on quick passing, Gervinho is one of the few strikers who simply takes the ball and heads directly towards the net.
Possession has always been one of Arsene Wenger’s main priorities, but it’s great to see someone who aggressively moves forward, especially when Arsenal has a penchant for making one too many passes.
When Gervinho played for Lille his goal numbers were in the high teens, but he was plagued by injuries last season, and staying healthy this year could result in a surprisingly nice season.
Arsenal’s revamped squad will be fun to watch, and the goals will eventually come, but nobody knows for sure who will be the player scoring them.