Arsenal's 1-0 victory over relegated Queens Park Rangers gave the Gunners another three points towards their target of a top-four finish. However, the performance, or lack thereof, from Arsene Wenger's side, particularly in the final third, again offered onlookers more questions than answers as to where the current squad resides.
Whilst the result garnered at Loftus Road moves the North London club one step closer to their goal of Champions League football in 2013/14, their inability to make possession and domination count against a side who will ply their trade in the Championship next season, must surely have made uncomfortable viewing for Monsieur Wenger.
England international Theo Walcott made his first chance count inside 20 seconds and he also struck a post during the first period. That apart, Rangers second-choice goalkeeper Rob Green barely had a save to make. And given that the central defensive partnership guarding his goal encompassed the much-maligned Clint Hill and reserve defender Nedum Onuoha, that is surely troubling for the 63-year-old Frenchman.
Wenger has spoken this week of his belief in Lukas Podolski, citing the 100-plus cap German international as the most natural finisher at the Emirates Stadium:
"I believe it is his best position, maybe because on the flanks he needs to work so hard and he's more a finisher than anyone else in the team." (Sky Sports)
Nonetheless, the former Bayern Munich and FC Koln forward was somewhat anonymous at Loftus Road as the 13-time English Champions struggled as an attacking force.
Having been far from his best in the role against Manchester United the previous week, where he lasted a mere 71 minutes, and with Olivier Giroud having failed to fully convince during his first season in England, despite 17 goals in 46 appearances (all competitions), they look firmly in need of additional firepower this summer. Continual top-four finishes may be good enough for the balance sheets at Ashburton Grove, but Arsenal supporters desire a first trophy since 2006.
Thus, with Arsene Wenger supposedly having a considerable war chest at his disposal this summer (ibtimes), it is surely time for the North Londoners to splash out on a world-renowned front man. Someone capable of scoring crucial goals, of threatening defenders and with that little bit of magic in and around the penalty area.
Today the situation worked out for Arsenal and they took three points, despite their inability to offer a consistent attacking threat. Yet there have been times when it hasn't been so this season and they have struggled to see off tricky opposition—Swansea at home, Blackburn (FA Cup) and Manchester United (home, when the newly-crowned champions looked like they'd been out celebrating the night before).
A real difference-maker in the opposition's penalty box has been something Arsenal have been without—someone capable of scoring that crucial goal in a tight match. Ex-Gunner Robin van Persie has 25 league goals (11 first goals), Chelsea's Demba Ba has 15 (11 first goals) and Gareth Bale has 20 (nine first goals). Arsenal's top goalscorer is Theo Walcott, but only five of his 13 league goals were the crucial first in games for Wenger's men.
And with Wenger's preference continuing to be that of fielding the former Southampton junior on the right of his preferred 4-3-3 formation, surely this summer is the prime opportunity to enlist one of world football's A-list centre forwards. In fact, it's a necessity.
Because with Manchester United already some 18 points in advance, and themselves, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs all likely to update their squads during the offseason, Arsenal cannot afford to stand still. Do so, and it won't be contending for trophies which will be a struggle in 2013/14, but merely competing for a place amongst the Premier League's elite.
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