There are currently four players that could play as a striker for Arsenal. This four options are: Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, and Danny Welbeck. In this post I am going to discuss, which of these four players should play as a first choice striker!
Arsenal needed to buy another striker in the summer, but didn’t. Arsene Wenger decided that there was no value in the market (something he has done many times before), and decided that he has enough fire power in his team.
Many fans would disagree (myself included). I think that Arsenal needed to buy two players (one of those players was striker) to win the league. Well that didn’t happen, and Arsenal ended up as the only club, from top five European leagues, that failed to buy an outfield player, in the summer.
Despite different expectations, Arsenal looks like a real contender to win Premier League this season, and is currently in second place (due to goal difference). There is still a question of who should be Arsenal main striker?
As I said before there are currently four options for the main striker position, and I will review this options, one by one. So lets start with…
Positives: Speed, acceleration, made for counter attack
Negatives: Doesn’t have football brains, unconvincing as central striker, injury prone
Theo Walcott has been at Arsenal since 2005, which means that he is one of the most longest-serving players at Arsenal. When Arsenal signed Walcott in 2005, no one really knew much about him. It didn’t took long for Walcott to showcase his main strengths, and that was speed, and acceleration. He even managed to beat Thierry Henry record on 60 meters. This is why Walcott absolutely thrived in counter attacks.
Although, Walcott looked like a new Thierry Henry, problems soon showed themselves in the form of constant injuries. Walcott has actually been the most injured Arsenal player in modern history. He is even injured now. This of course gives him a tag of injury prone. No player can be first choice striker, if he is constantly injured.
Because of the constant injuries, Walcott hasn’t progressed like he should, at least in technical terms. He has the speed, but not the skills. Besides that, he is very unconvincing as a central striker. He basically looks lost in that position.
I simply don’t think that Walcott should be Arsenal first choice striker. He is still more of a winger than anything else, and his susceptibility to injuries means that you can’t count on him throughout the season.
Verdict: Theo Walcott should NOT be Arsenal first choice striker, he shouldn’t even play as a striker!
Positives: Speed, hard working, dribbling, fantastic on the ball, great finish
Negatives: Short, needs the ball, not preferred position
Sanchez was bought last season from Barcelona, and he has been instant success at the Emirates. His constant hard working in attack, made him a fans favorite. His best position is on the left wing where he can make his darting runs really effective.
Sanchez is a great finisher, and can play as a striker, but he is simply less effective there. Sanchez needs the ball to achieve something. He is not a kind of a player that goes missing in the game, and than scores a goal somehow. He needs the ball in the build up.
Another big problem for Sanchez in striking role is that he is quite small. Sanchez is as tall as Messi (169 cm), and although some players can play very effectively in attack despite of their height, Sanchez is not one of them.
Verdict: Sanchez should NOT be Arsenal first choice striker, because he is not the most effective as a striker, but as a left winger.
Positives: Tall, quick, skillful, plays there for England
Negatives: Clumsy, not good goalscoring record
Welbeck made a lot of headlines, when he decided to switch from Manchester United to Arsenal in previous season. Although he hasn’t really proved himself at Arsenal, he did manage to score one important goal in FA Cup to put Manchester United out of the competition.
Welbeck is tall, quick, and quite skillful. He also plays as a striker for England. Welbeck did play some games as a central striker for Arsenal, but his effectiveness has been limited. The reason for this is that he never really played there for Manchester United.
Currently injured, Welbeck could in time became the first choice striker at Arsenal. He has already played very effectively for England in a striker position. This means that he could play there for Arsenal (eventually). Still, he will need to improve his goalscoring record, and his clumsiness in front of goal.
Verdict: Welbeck could be first choice striker at Arsenal, but needs to improve his goalscoring record, and fix his clumsiness in 18 yard box.
Positives: Tall, good in the air, strong, natural position
Negatives: Fails to take chances, slow, not technical
The last of the strikers is Olivier Giroud. He came to Arsenal in 2012, as direct replacement for Robin Van Persie. Giroud did replace Van Persie in some ways, but failed in others. Giroud is strong, tall, and very effective in the air. He is excellent target man, and doesn’t get many injuries.
The problem with Giroud is that he is quite slow, not very technical, and can spur a lot of chances before he finally scores. Although he has a very decent goalscoring record for Arsenal, one can predict that he would score at least 10 to 15 goals more, every season, if he would take more chances.
Giorud biggest asset is probably his endurance. He isn’t injured much, and is someone that can be used throughout the season. In spite of the fact that Giroud has many glaring weaknesses, he is still the best striking option Arsenal have.
Verdict: Giroud Should play as a first choice striker for Arsenal. He is currently Arsenal best option for that position.
Giroud should be Arsenal first choice striker, but more importantly, Arsenal should really search for a better alternative. Currently, only Giroud’s natural position is being a striker. All other player are more wingers than strikers. This is also the reason why I believe that Wenger made a mistake by not signing another striker.
Arsenal is currently very high in the Premier League, but it remains to be seen, if Arsenal has the power to stay there. In the end, the lack of alternative in striker’s position might make this season (again) unsuccessful in the Premier League.