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WANTED: Centre forward with the physicality, aerial ability and creativity to act as a target man

Wenger

Like it or not, Arsenal’s current attacking system is dependent on the team having a centre forward with the physicality, aerial ability and creativity to act as a target man, inside an often crowded opponent’s penalty box, for Arsenal’s number 10, wide forwards, central midfielders and full backs to pass and/or cross the ball to. Once in possession of the ball, the centre forward has a dual role of converting goal scoring opportunities presented to him and creating for team mates inside the opponent’s penalty box through flick on and deft touches.

It’s a role Giroud has performed admirably for Arsenal this season without being exceptional and it’s an attacking system that Arsenal persist with despite a lack of players within the current squad with a similar skill set and build to the big Frenchman.

Welbeck

Whilst Danny Welbeck is tall and has proven himself effective at laying the ball off to team mates, Welbeck’s natural tendencies: to make off the ball runs from central positions to the wings to stretch the opponent’s defence; and join in Arsenal’s build up play outside the opposition’s penalty box (as opposed to act as a target man), has often resulted in Arsenal having no central striking option when Welbeck is deployed there.

This combined with Arsenal not possessing a Plan B when it comes to their attacking approach, has resulted in disjointed attacking performance when Welbeck has assumed the central striking role.

With Welbeck’s long term injury and a lack of players within Arsenal’s current squad with a similar skill set and build to the big Frenchman, Arsenal need to recruit a striker in the mould of Giroud. It is simply a must as this season has shown that Arsenal are ineffective in their current attacking system when Giroud is struggling for form or absent through injury.

While strikers like Higuain, Benzema, Lukaku, Aubameyang and Lacazette are frequently spoken about as potential alternatives to Giroud, these players have built their career on playing in teams that counterattack and are untested in the style of football Arsenal, in particularly Arsenal centre forward, is required by Wenger to play.

Whilst the aforementioned players’ clinical finishing skills would make them all excellent candidates to fill Arsenal’s troublesome wide left forward role, I don’t believe they are well suited to the highly physical centre forward role in Arsenal’s attacking system.

As such I’ve identified a number of potential targets who fit the skill and physical profile of Giroud and have demonstrated they can act as a target man inside an often crowded opponent’s penalty box, convert goal scoring opportunities when presented to them as well as create scoring opportunities for team mates inside the opponent’s penalty box through flick on and deft touches.

Cheick Diabaté
28 yrs old
194cm and 88kg
Current club: Bordeaux
10 goals and 4 assists in 16 starts
Key strengths: finishing, aerial duals, heading attempts, flick ons, layoffs
Key weaknesses: defensive contribution, offside awareness and susceptible to injuries

Andy Carroll
27 yrs old
193cm and 79kg
Current club: West Ham
9 goals and 2 assists in 12 starts
Key strengths: aerial duals, heading attempts, flick ons, key passes, defensive contribution, layoffs
Key weaknesses: susceptible to injuries

Mario Mandzukic
29 yrs old
190cm and 85kg
Current club: Juventus
10 goals and 4 assists in 23 starts
Key strengths: aerial duals, heading attempts, finishing, holding onto the ball,defensive contribution, layoffs
Key weaknesses: no significant weaknesses

Christian Benteke
25 yrs old
190cm and 83kg
Current club: Liverpool
9 goals and 3 assists in 13 starts
Key strengths: aerial duals, heading attempts, finishing, flick ons, layoffs
Key weaknesses: defensive contribution, offside awareness

Luuk de Jong
25 yrs old
188cm and 86ky
Current club: PSV
26 goals and 8 assists in 32 starts
Key strengths: aerial duals, heading attempts, finishing, layoffs, key passes, defensive contribution
Key weaknesses: no significant weaknesses

Comparatively Giroud’s premier league statistics for this season are 13 goals and 6 assists in 25 starts.

Whilst Luuk De Jong’s output this year has been extremely effective and at 25 years of age he has time to further develop, personally I would like to see Arsenal pursue Andy Carroll or Christian Benteke as both are proven performers in the English Premier League.

Irrespective of which option Arsenal pursues, what is clear is that Arsenal need to recruit another striker in the same mould of Giroud to ensure Arsenal’s current attacking system remains effective, when the Giroud is struggling for form or absence through injury.

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dan
dan
4 years ago

LUKAKU… all day LUKAKU… no brainer

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

Andy Carroll or Christian Benteke? You wish to replace the issues we have with Giroud with a player who will have exactly the same issue. Both these players thrive on crosses. Their strength is their aerial ability. Their weaknesses are their ground play; poor control, poor passing and a complete lack of dribbling ability between the two of them. Yet for Arsenal.. a team that predominately play their football on the ground, you think we should buy one of these players?? This is without doubt the worst suggestion for Arsenal I have ever heard.. there’s no point replacing Giroud with… Read more »

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