Quite a surprising title, given Olivier Giroud’s form, yet one that makes sense if the Gunners want to go far in the Champions League and have a chance in the Premier League’s title race.
Even if he is flourishing at the moment, putting him back on the bench for the key games against Chelsea and Bayern could be a key decision for the end of Arsenal’s campaign. For all his qualities, Arsenal are way too predictable with Giroud, they’re lacking in any movement going forward and often struggle to create clear chances and press the opposing team high up the pitch. However, a Giroud type of striker is needed in the squad whether it is off the bench or starting in specific games, for instance against smaller teams at the Emirates, likely to park a bus in front of their own goal.
Alexis Sanchez, who flourished in a false nine role earlier in the season after struggling on the left wing last season, should go back to his central role in the coming weeks if Arsenal want a bigger chance at beating Chelsea and knocking Bayern out of the Champions League. The Gunners need their on form player to be in the best condition in order to achieve anything significant this season, with 17 goals and 11 assists to his name, the Chilean has already had an incredible season.
The Chilean looked to be enjoying the freedom in his new role; being the main point of attack, the first line of the press allowing Arsenal to get the ball back in dangerous areas as we saw in his goal against Chelsea in September, something Giroud can’t do. His movement upfront also opens space in the box which allows Ozil and Walcott to run into, whereas on the left, he is back as the frustrating winger we saw last season, running straight into defenders and playing overhit through balls.
It is unfair, but for all that Olivier Giroud brings, Arsenal play better football with a more mobile striker, whether it’s Alexis or Lucas Perez, he’s still needed in the squad as his profile is something rare in football these days though, but having him as Arsenal’s main striker restrains Walcott, Ozil and Alexis’s influence on the pitch.
A front line composed of:
Would allow Arsenal to press high, create space, open up spaces with Alexis cutting back and Ozil or Walcott running into the spaces opened by Alexis. It is also a deadly front four on the break, an asset that could be key at Stamford Bridge or the Allianz Arena, which was also key in our win against Chelsea and our goal at the Etihad Stadium. Both Ozil and Walcott have also enjoyed Alexis’ new role, scoring 9 and 14 goals respectively this season.
However, as we saw last Tuesday:
The combination is still seen as a working front four. It didn’t work against Watford but Giroud and Iwobi could still come off the bench to contribute against Chelsea.