Lacazette is the best upgrade on Olivier Giroud – Is he a striker that can win us the league Thierry?


Oh, Thierry. Why would you say all that stuff about Giroud? I honestly don’t know. Olivier Giroud is the best back-to-goal striker in the Premier League – the only others who have the potential to come close are Chelsea’s Diego Costa, Sunderland’s Connor Wickham and Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, all of whom are, I feel, inferior to Giroud. Yes, Giroud does need to up his game in some areas such as in his first touch (still much better than Welbeck’s though) and increase his willingness to play the quicker ball – I think most Arsenal fans will acknowledge that he has improved at the latter since the signing of Özil last season.

Who does Thierry think is an upgrade on Giroud, someone Arsenal can legitimately play up top in some matches instead of Giroud? Something Thierry, like most other pundits unsurprisingly, failed to suggest was any players who could come in and do a job for Arsenal that would be equal or better than the job Giroud does. We’ll start with candidates currently at Arsenal. Danny Welbeck can be a great player occasionally but his days, such as the one vs. Galatasaray at the Emirates in the Champions League (admittedly a terrible defensive performance by Gala), are too few and far between for my liking. Welbeck may have more pace on the ball and better acceleration on and off of the ball but that is about it when it comes to his advantages over Giroud – Giroud has more footballing intelligence on and off the ball and is more likely to bring his team-mates into play, which, in my opinion, is more likely to result in more goals over the course of a season.

Centrally if what he wants but….


Next up is Theo Walcott. Yes, he has the ability to make devastating runs off the shoulder of the last defender, but if the ball gets cut out before it reaches him or if he misses the target, the attack is gone, while Giroud is more likely to try to keep the ball and play in a team-mate. For Walcott to be most effective, I think that he needs a strike partner next to him to hold the ball up and feed him balls in between or behind the opposition centre-backs, something that the current formation and tactical setup doesn’t allow as much, except in the latter part of matches, when defenders are tiring – Walcott most often makes his appearances from the bench to make the most advantage of this. Overall, it is my feeling that, with Theo up top by himself in this formation, that the team would be scoring fewer goals over the course of a season.


Our top scorer to move to the middle?

Now for Alexis. He is the only candidate at the Club currently, for me, who has the ability to really play as a central striker in our current formation as an alternative to Giroud, and has done so on a few occasions this season. However, he has looked less effective than Giroud. Why? Simple – he can’t play the ball to himself from the wider areas! Alexis is so effective from the flanks due to his willingness to bring the ball forward from deep and make sharp, incisive runs that make space for others and he is usually one of the first to get into space in the box for the shot after completing his run and pass forward (usually after the ball is held up for him by Giroud or Özil). Alexis could play up top more often if the Club purchased another quality left-sided attacker – possibly Julian Draxler. Santi Cazorla could play there too but is on far too good a vein of form at the moment in a deeper role in midfield for Wenger to consider this. I haven’t written anything about Lukas Podolski here as, for me, he’s as good as gone already and offers very little to the team apart from having a very powerful shot and goes missing in matches far too frequently for my liking.


Now for some candidates outside Arsenal. Realistically, for me, there are very few names that come to mind who could supply the team with more goals currently than Giroud. I’ve seen several names mentioned on a semi-consistent basis, like PSG’s Edinson Cavani, Zenit’s Hulk and Porto’s Jackson Martinez and some other more left-field (ha) inclusions like Mattia Destro, Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Inter’s Mauro Icardi. Cavani was largely awful at the World Cup (I don’t get to watch Ligue 1 here) and seems to have been pretty indifferent for PSG too, with Ibrahimovic holding down the striker’s role when fit and able to play. Hulk is, in my opinion, inferior to any forward we have at Arsenal currently, with the exception of Podolski – his goal tally in the Russian Premier League (albeit with a decent squad around him including former Gunner Andrei Arshavin and Axel Witsel) proves this. Martinez is the most recent of a long line of strikers at Porto who have scored a lot of goals in the Portuguese league – I feel that, outside of Porto, that he will fare no better than the recent others who have played this role (Falcao excepted, as he has played well at Atletico but poorly for Monaco and Manchester United). Destro has had a pretty awful season on loan at Milan, while Lasogga has also been on loan, but at Hamburg, and just as ineffectual in goal product as Destro.


2 new French Internationals this summer?

2 new French Internationals this summer?

The only real candidate for me who could possibly improve Arsenal’s goal tally is Alexandre Lacazette. The Lyon striker has been in red-hot form this season and has the capability of playing anywhere across the forward line. Lyon, however, will be unwilling to part with one of their top players easily (the others being Nabil Fekir, Maxime Gonalons and Samuel Umtiti), as they are chasing a return to the UEFA Champions League but I feel that their chairman, Jean-Michel Aulas, would be willing to sell the player if a larger-than-average offer was made, something in the region of 35 million Pounds would be likely to turn Aulas’ head, especially with stadium loans hanging over his head. Lacazette has some familiarity with Giroud too, having been selected in the World Cup squad with Giroud. Lacazette is a powerful runner with good finishing abilities and would be an upgrade on Danny Welbeck. However, Wenger may be unlikely to bring in someone who could make Welbeck surplus to requirements so soon after signing him. Lacazette is, unfortunately, a player smaller in stature than Giroud or Welbeck, which may well work against him in playing a central role at Arsenal.


In short, I don’t think there will be a striker signed in the summer to complement or supplant Giroud, unless both Walcott and Podolski leave, then, in my opinion, it would be game on and Lacazette would be my favoured choice to come to Arsenal.

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9 Responses to Lacazette is the best upgrade on Olivier Giroud – Is he a striker that can win us the league Thierry?

  1. Victor Thompson April 30, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Hi Timothy,

    Well written article.

    I agree about Welbeck. When he is in the team I know that he will bring all out effort, but little class. Ask your self, would any of the top clubs set their defence up to cope with him? When they see Giroud on the sheet they have to cover him. Chelsea put Terry and Cahill on him and if Wenger had played Theo to take advantage of the space on the wing, we might have won.

    Theo will never be a centre forward. He does not link play like Giroud or push defenders about, nor does he play with his back to goal. He depends on passes from Ozil, Santi, Ramsey etc. to run on to. Even so, he is a person who teams have to watch, and full backs cannot desert their position in case he gets a run on them.

    Sanchez can make his own chances, but even if you make him No.9 he will roam to the wings. The man is a machine and he doesn`t care how much he runs. If he did that and Giroud was not on the team because he was the No. 9, half of his effectiveness would be lost.

    I agree that Wenger will probably not buy a striker and frankly, if there is anyone better than Giroud, Real, Barcelona, Bayern, PSG would be after them. I dont see such a person at present.

  2. Amz April 30, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    I feel we do need a striker, but one who is different to Giroud. A fox in the box who only needs one chance to score.

    Also with the current Arsenal replacements I feel its more horses for courses. Giroud’s hold up play is needed in big games while a Walcott/Sanchez is also a good option when we go on the attack against a so called weaker side.

    • Victor Thompson April 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

      Hi Amz,

      What you are asking for is an Ian Wright. The nearest we have got to that was Eduardo but his horrendous injury destroyed him. We have tried many variations of midgets in the forward line but all the top teams coped with them. It was only when we got Giroud and he was able to out muscle static defenders that we started knocking goals in. Unfortunately, we are never going to get another Henry.

      Victor Thompson

    • David April 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      Giroud is a fox in the box he is the best one touch finisher in the prem, we need a player who can create something out of nothing, like rvp back in the day. Sharp movement bang goal

  3. Ignatius Ndebele April 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Arsenal definitely needs a new central sticker if they are to challenge for the league title. Any player you can get who is better than the one you have is worth going for if you want to take the team forward. Arsene Wenger must keep looking for players who are a better fit than the ones he has as they have failed to achieve anything yet, so for progress sake improvement on the quality of the players is a must. There is no need to protect current players’ positions if Arsenal is challenging for titles.

    The other problem I have with Arsenal’s recruitment process is that Arsenal tend to go after players who will have not impressed at other big clubs and at the same time expect to beat the very teams in the Champions League. It is asking for too much.

    In my opinion, Arsenal must go back to the old strategy Arsene Wenger used when he first came to the club. He was able to identify players who would fit into the team, but now it is about midfield ball-players and they are all almost suited for about two positions in the team and end up being played out of position which causes the team to loose balance.

    Wenger needs to recruit players based on positional needs. Currently Arsenal has one genuine defensive midfielder and if he were to get injured, that would mean a sub-standard replacement would have to fill in. Arteta is a good footballer but has been forced to play out of position for many years. Aaron Ramsy is a good midfielder but is currently played on the wings. How do you expect to breakdown defensive minded teams playing with no natural wingers and relying on wing backs?

  4. David April 30, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    How can you say that??? Henry said

    what?? About Giroud? If you listened what they had to say you would realise they were talking about arsenal winning the champions league and Premiership?? Compare Giroud to Lewondsowki/Suraez/Benzema/Costa/Augero/messi. He was talking on a different level to what you were listening were did you get benteke from Ffs.

  5. David April 30, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    With Giroud if you give him a yard he will score like all great strikers do, take the yard away from him he can’t create it back to score, to predictable with movement can’t create any space to shoot in any top level defenders back pocket, now Augero can do that we need an Augero type player. DYABLA

  6. Luke April 30, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    What makes a striker an upgrade from OG is the proficiency in scoring from less than 50% chances. On the other hand, if a striker is to be concentrated he has to participate less in the build up of the attack. For the style AFC is playing now, there is not many which would be an upgrade, and only a few at an affordable price. So, for now, Theo or Welbs must improve, and use what OG has to offer. Improving defensive system will bring more out of our attackers. After all OG was the top scorer in France. Our right side of the attack, and slow transformation to defence is the basis of the problem.

  7. Timothy Hargreaves April 30, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    Victor – thanks for the compliment!

    Amz – The one player I didn’t mention is Chuba Akpom – it’s rumoured that he has signed on for 4 more years and he is the “fox-in-the-box” type. I didn’t mention him as he is out on loan presently but will likely feature next season if Walcott and Podolski are sold.

    Ignatius – the biggest issue with recruiting is finding the funds. You have to accept that teams like Bayern, FCB, Real Madrid, Chelsea, City and PSG all can and will outbid us for the top players as they all have more financial muscle than Arsenal are willing to spend on players. Because of the money difference, AW cannot go back to the old days of being able to recruit players like Pires, Overmars, Ljungberg, etc. because AFC will always get outbid.

    I agree with you that AW needs to recruit based on positional needs – I think we need a GK, CD, DM, a wide forward/winger and a ST (the latter two particularly when/if Podolski and Walcott are moved on. All of those positions cost a lot more money in relative terms than in the early 2000’s

    David – have you ever watched Benteke? He has a very good first time shot but only an average first touch (about the same as Welbeck’s) – the problem is Villa’s midfield lacks any creativity and so chances are hard to come by for him. Also, he has been injured this season and for a period last season too. I mentioned Benteke as he is also a strong guy up top who plays in a 1 striker system, same with Wickham (yes, I realise the midfields are completely different)

    AFC tried to get Suarez if you recall but Liverpool wouldn’t sell – not much AFC could do there as they didn’t want a prolonged court battle dragging on for months. AFC tried to sign Aguero too before that from Atletico – City outbid us and offered silly wages that AFC couldn’t compete with. I read somewhere that Lewandowski has some homesickness issues – Munich is closer to Poland than London is. Costa has only started scoring more in the last 2 and a half years – Giroud has a better career goalscoring record. Benzema LOVES Real Madrid and will not leave them unless he’s transfer listed by RM. Same thing for Messi with Barcelona, where he has been since he was a young teenager. So you posted a bunch of guys that AFC have NO chance in signing. Also, Dybala is most likely going to Juventus if he leaves Palermo – the Palermo chairman also wants stupid money (40+ million Pounds) for him. His agent will move him towards Juve imo.

    What I would like to see is more first-time shots from Giroud from outside the box – he’s decent at those e.g. goal vs. Manchester United in the 1-2 loss at home.

    Luke – exactly right. Welbeck has been pretty poor for me a lot of the time that he has played. I’m sure AW has been playing him out wide to try to get him to improve his all-around game so that he can get to a level closer to Giroud. I concur that Giroud needs to be more clinical with his chances. A proper right-winger would be nice, though!

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