Arsenal fans are missing the point over striker crisis – blaming Giroud achieves nothing.
The outcry over Arsenal’s attacking prowess this week has been so demonstrably ill-proportioned that I can’t quite believe it has happened. Wave after wave of unreasonable attacks unleashed upon Olivier Giroud have left a sour taste in the mouth of everybody involved at the club, and fans have once again been left divided over a rather sensitive issue. Negativity has a habit of doing that, I notice.
Perhaps the reason behind such frustration is the annual barrage of footballing urgency as clubs around the world prepare for Deadline Day. It’s a stressful period for fans, as we all eagerly await the necessary bolstering and negotiating completed by the men in charge of our desired clubs. All transfer windows marvel in the propelling of excitement and satisfaction, as well as tension and disappointment. And this particular season has been no different.
As I tweeted (you can follow me @OliverNorgrove) rather sarcastically earlier on in the week: “You’d think Olivier Giroud was at fault for the fact that Olivier Giroud was Arsenal’s best and most natural striker”. As is the case with any player, streams of abuse being hurled in torrential fashion fulfils no real or objective purpose other than to release the anger within a person; venting best directed at club management.
Of course Arsenal should opt for the purchasing of a better quality striker; every team should forever seek to better their chances of success. The best teams do this expertly on a consistent basis, and it is by no means a coincidence. As I mentioned last week, the trick is always to buy when you’re strong, and I think Arsene Wenger should be looking to improve upon his attacking options in the days of the window that remain.
To compound upon this somewhat evident misery, Karim Benzema publicly expressed his desire for Real Madrid to remain his home this week, though of course fans wouldn’t expect him to say anything to the contrary. Whilst I do confess to being a huge advocate of his signing, I do remain firm in my belief that; with, or without Karim Benzema this season, Arsenal will not be winning the Premier League.
Arsenal have a really strong team at their disposal, but it doesn’t come without flaw or failure, however minor they may be. The Liverpool game on Monday night saw yet another flat home performance exercised and much of the post-match reaction predominantly included senseless grillings of Olivier Giroud and what he brings to the Arsenal set-up.
I would, therefore, like to offer some love to Gary Neville at this point in time, for his consistently excellent punditry for Sky Sports. His assessment of our woes at present perfectly illustrates what we need for a strong and credible title challenge. Thank god we have a man on television willing to say what is necessary, and who backs up his arguments with sound and intelligent logic.
Neville bemoaned Wenger’s blatant displays of arrogance and naivety both tactically and in the transfer market, and placed particular emphasis upon his reluctance to supplement creativity with power. I thought his sentiments were so sensible that I can’t believe Wenger hasn’t spotted the problem.
And this is part of the problem for me. Olivier Giroud is being unfairly burdened with criticism that should, realistically, be aimed at Mr Wenger himself. This summer’s transfer market has been open long enough for suitable depth to be added to our squad, and whilst the signing of Petr Cech was a smart one, it simply isn’t enough. A friend pointed out, rather accurately, to me on Tuesday evening that one position in which Arsenal could do with strengthening is the right-back position.
I’ve always been a fan of Hector Bellerin, but he often lacks the positional awareness that full backs all over Europe possess. Offensively, he is sharp and bright, but his defensive game is the area that needs addressing, and urgently. Whether Debuchy is necessarily an upgrade in a situation like this is, as I’ve said many times before, an entirely different question.
And then comes the obvious lack of depth in the anchor role of Arsenal’s midfield. Last week I wrote a piece on Francis Coquelin (which you can read here) in which I detailed why competition in such a key area will benefit him, and more importantly, the team’s chances of silverware. Should Francis suffer major injury, our options in this part of the field are left significantly weakened through lack of investment. And no, Mikel Arteta will not suffice.
So, I urge my readers, and indeed fans around me on both social media or in the stadium, to engage in a little bit of perspective before arrowing your unnecessary and harmful rhetoric at a player who, actually, can boast a very good goal-scoring record for Arsenal in his first 100 Premier League games. Only Thierry Henry and Ian Wright scored more within their initial and respective centuries.
Arsenal are, as has been eluded to many times in the past, a team only a few bolts short of Premier League or Champions League glory, but now is the time to fulfil that potential. It is time for Arsene Wenger to shed the arrogance and be ruthless while he still can.
And for the love all that is good, please leave Olivier Giroud alone. He’s trying his best.