While everyone was concerned with which defensive midfielder Arsene was going to get in the summer, I always found time to conduct some extensive research on who could improve our attack; a forward to be precise, but not necessarily a target man. I had so many names, but few were elite-level as the creme of these breed of players were already in the possession of Europe’s best clubs. The only one who seemed available from this group was Alexis Sanchez. I wanted him or Cuadrado. And Voilà! Arsene landed his own tormentor-in-chief. The Chilean arrived full of enthusiasm.
I then thought he was nailed on to be our new centre-forward, especially with the return of Theo. But we signed Danny Welbeck and he fitted in quite seamlessly at the apex of our attack. Fast forward four months and Theo is finally back into the reckoning; so what does this mean for our forward line?
A pace setter.
Firstly, it gives us security in pace. Following the summer’s events, Walcott has got new company to race with (as we saw in the FA cup win over Hull City) and I think Olivier Giroud would do well to pass on the baton to Alexis to lead the chase from the centre.
More so, the team hardly plays through Giroud anymore. This could be down to the absence of Ramsey and Ozil (who both formed a brilliant partnership with Giroud last term) but the addition of a player like Sanchez has meant the team relies less on lay-offs and quick combinations through the middle, and instead now focus more on direct running and sharp instincts.
In furtherance , the prospect of having strikers such as Giroud and Danny Welbeck on the bench provides Arsene with solid alternatives to select from when chasing a game, as well as a sign of depth, especially when Sanchez needs a breather.
In the same vein, when you consider the numerous qualities of Arsenal’s new no.17, it is understandable to task him with the responsibility of leading the line. His aggression, combative tendencies, work rate, mobility, close control and unpredictability matches that of the top centre-forwards in Europe and makes up for his lack of height and (in)ability to hold up the play.
Arsenal could also do with a beast leading the line at a time where pressing has become one of the biggest requirements of the modern game. On numerous occasions this season, we’ve seen the Chilean harass defenders and close down goalkeepers quite brilliantly and he would only be entitled to more of that when played through the middle. Its fair to say he’ll aid in screening the midfield by covering an awful lot of ground. With this new approach, we also get to see Santi and Ozil be play together often and with the form the former is in, he deserves to remain in the side even with the return of the trio of Ramsey, Ozil and Theo.
Although Sanchez has the gift of combining with anyone in the final third because of his appetite for the game, It still is important to emphasize on the chemistry he has built with Santi, as we’ve seen recently with the combinations that have produced goals in the past few weeks. I think Arsene has to respect that.
The last two marquee signings Arsenal have made has pointed to a new direction from the club, spearheaded by Arsene. The Duo of Ozil and Alexis need all the freedom they can get to take the team to the attacking level where they’ve always wanted to be. Arsene’s strikers have more often than not shown a degree of ruthlessness about them and it appears the boss now has another clinical forward he can consistently rely on to make the difference. He would do no harm by allowing Sanchez pull the strings through the middle.