I don’t believe I will be making too many friends with this piece but here goes…
I am aware that the timing cannot be worse to come out with an opinion about how Danny Welbeck would be a better option up front compared to Olivier Giroud! I differ from my colleague Subomi who wrote a piece in praise 0f the Frenchman earlier this week.
The Frenchman scored 8 in his last 11 games and is playing great football. However I’m still not convinced; I like his desire and hunger, I like the way he fights for the team, but I’m too often disappointed by his passing game and technique.
Mr. Handsome is not the flick specialist we’re made to believe, I’m sorry.
If there’s one thing I like about him, is the way he keeps trying and trying; one thing I don’t like is that he often falls short.
In my opinion, the best example of what Olivier Giroud could be – but is not – came during the game against Middlesbrough: a simple, five yards pass that would have sent Danny Welbeck straight on a 1v1 with the goalkeeper ended somehow over-hit and misplaced by the Frenchman.
He spotted his teammate’s run perfectly well but merely couldn’t finish a pass that even Mathieu Flamini would have completed.
That tells a lot.
I reckon it’s harsh on a player who scored a brace during the same game. However, this is not the standard I expect from our main striker.
Moreover, I stand to my point when I say that his lack of speed and movement is highly damaging for our football; the day he doesn’t win his duels against his markers there’s not much he can offer; as Arsène Wenger likes to repeat, his use of upper body is marvelous but on many occasions his feet let him down poorly. His only foot, I should say, which makes him predictable.
In a front line composed of players who like to exchange positions, move across the pitch and enjoy some anarchy, he looks a bit too static at times. I know he’s asked to be the focal point of our attack and I know he’s invited to keep the ball when under pressure but I believe that Danny Welbeck could do the same job. We saw at White Hart Lane that Olivier Giroud’s first touch is enough heavy most of the time, which leads to quick turnovers and dangerous counters for our opponents. Again, ball control and retention are not his most distinct qualities.
Danny Welbeck is smarter at running behind defenders and offers a wider range of solutions to our midfielders and wingers. Hence in my view he should be given the #9 position.
We had a taste of what the Englishman could do during our games against Galatasaray, Aston Villa, Hull City and West Brom: electric pace combined with a strong presence and excellent technique.
His stats do not give him enough credit, and he should be judged after a long run of games played as our main forward – not in his current wide midfield position.
He can take defenders on, he can win duels and deliver critical passes, something Olivier Giroud struggles to do. A striker of his qualities is very difficult to handle for a defender because his multiple talents could suddenly surprise his marker. Olivier Giroud can be unplayable at times, especially when he’s physically at his best, but on a day off he’s just so easy to nullify.
I don’t argue with the fact that Danny Welbeck is not a natural goal scorer, but I believe it’s just a matter of time and confidence; he’s rarely been employed as a pure striker and he’s been often requested to cover much ground, which, of course, has an impact on coolness and calmness in front of goal.
I would say he is not a deadly finisher yet but at only 24, Danny Welbeck is not the finished article and has the potential to be one of those 30+ goals a season strikers. But to reach this potential, he has to play through the middle on a permanent basis.
I crave watching an attacking line in which Danny Welbeck starts up front and swaps positions with Mesut Özil, Alexis Sanchez and one of Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain because this line’s dynamism, flair and technique sounds far more dangerous than having one target man and runners around him.
If the big French striker has a bad day and cannot dominate his opponent, our runners are short of supply and our football becomes static, predictable and slow; it happened last season when Olivier Giroud. Ran out of gas we all saw how our game lacked options when our main striker was so shattered he could barely move.I don’t want it to happen again and unfortunately Olivier Giroud is the main reason our football stagnates, at times.
I will be interested to hear your views.
Editors Note – In December Giroud suggested both he and Welbeck could compliment each other – Click here.