Olivier Giroud is the best striker in the league
Every transfer window since Robin Van Persie defected to Manchester was dominated by speculation of Arsenal signing a world class striker. Giroud’s arrival at the Emirates, amid links with the likes of Cavani, Benzema and Higuain was not greeted with much jubilation. Despite becoming a lightning rod for criticism however, his stats and overall contribution paint a much more positive picture.
The game on Wednesday night was a perfect showcase of both Giroud’s strengths and weaknesses. He scored two vital goals, was instrumental in setting up Ramsey’s effort and battled formidably against Liverpool’s center backs. He also managed to somehow miss an absolute sitter, a chance that was easier to score than miss.
Aguero is very injury prone, Vardy and Lukaku are still somewhat unproven and Kane is a good target man. Giroud may not have one defining quality, but his link-up play, aerial ability, hold up play and contribution in the final third are of a very high standard. In my opinion, he is the best all-round center forward in the league right now.
Joel Campbell is this season’s Coquelin
Everyone loves an underdog story, an unlikely hero rising through the ranks to beat the odds and become a superstar. Time will tell if Campbell is able to sustain this level of performance throughout the season, but early signs are incredibly positive.
Much like Coquelin last season, the young Costa Rican was written off as not being good enough, despite not really getting much of a chance in the first team. As is often the case with Arsenal, injuries forced Wenger’s hand and he was finally given a chance to impress.
Campbell’s biggest asset is his work rate and defensive contribution. He clearly learned a lot from Alexis, because every single game this season he ran himself into the ground for the team. Nothing gets the fans on your side quicker than showing effort and determination.
Now that he’s added goals and assists to his game – and ditched his ridiculous goal celebration – he has the potential to relegate both Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain to the bench.
The title race is wide open
Conceding a late goal was a real sucker punch and made the game against Liverpool feel more like a loss than a draw. However, coming away from Anfield with a point is not a bad result, even if Klopp’s team has been pretty inconsistent this season.
Other results could have gone more in our favor, and Tottenham’s loss to Leicester in particular meant that we’re now top of the league only on goal difference. The important result was Manchester City’s draw with Everton though, as they still appear to be the team to beat to the title.
We are in a great position to have a strong second half of the season. Alexis is on the verge of coming back and few would argue that, along with Mesut Ozil, he is our best player. Mohammed Elneny should add some steel to our midfield, and is a welcome pair of fresh legs – while the likes of Welbeck, Wilshere and Cazorla could inject even more momentum when they return from injury.
We can take positives from the fact that we came back from being behind twice, and almost won a game that we would have lost in previous seasons. A good result this weekend against Stoke would further strengthen our title credentials.
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