Today’s blog is not about transfers, I am more than glad that the circus left yesterday and I want everyone to go back to football.
Once you see that the usually serious BBC asking self-elected Football Manager experts to give their views about the impact of this or that player, based on their saved games, you know it’s time to move on.
Call me naive (or worst…) but I can actually buy Arsène Wenger’s theory that no player better than what we had was available, especially up front; I trust our players and I trust their qualities, hunger and togetherness.
This group of players played arguably the best and most consistent football in the league since January, has won back-to-back FA Cups and defeated Manchester City and Chelsea in the Charity Shield.
That’s enough for me to trust our players and our manager.
The desperate calls for Arsène Wenger to bring in a striker were not heeded and suddenly it looked like we were doomed??? Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla are still at the Club and surely know how to score goals; I don’t see any reason to panic.
Of course, there are better forwards out there but none of them was available – so why buy just for the sake of it?
I accept that we didn’t start the season very well, especially offensively, but we are only four games into the campaign and I refuse any suddenly beleive that our forwards are not good enough; they scored 59 league goals last season, despite the fact that Olivier Giroud has been absent for three months, Theo Walcott missed the first half of the season and others also suffered injuries.
The ridiculous goals-per-shot ratio currently showing today can’t last any longer and doesn’t represent a reliable statistics to build any reasoning about our attacking unit – we all know we are better than that.
We might not be as sharp as we should be or we might lack a bit of composure in front of goal, but our strikers surely don’t need over fifteen shots on target to score.
We all know that, it’s a fact.
Instead of wondering about what we could have had, we should concentrate on what we already have in terms of attacking talent: ours is possibly the most complete offensive contingent in the league, behind Manchester City; we have power, pace, skills and flair up front, just not all in the same player but shared between our four forwards.
We are not over-reliant on one single player, like Chelsea or Manchester United; I do remember how we were called a one-man team when Robin van Persie was leading the line but this is what Manchester United and Chelsea are today: the formers literally have only Wayne Rooney to score goals, having allowed Hernandez and Falcao to leave and replaced them with a promising teenager, while Chelsea’s form dipped drastically when Diego Costa was injured, last season, and took a huge gamble by signing Falcao.
Each one of our strikers offers something different to the team and allows Arsène Wenger to adapt to our next opponent, adding unpredictability to our game plan and to our football overall.
Olivier Giroud will keep dragging midfielders and wingers around him, flicking the ball and casually finish with the outside of his left foot at the near post; he has his flaws and I am not his biggest fan but he’s not the crap striker some have fun to despise. Theo Walcott is a natural finisher and possibly the smartest of our forwards, the one able to run in behind the defensive line and dictate a through-ball from our playmakers; the miss at Newcastle is an accident and it’s worth mentioning that only top strikers find themselves in those positions.
Danny Welbeck has the power to play with his back to the goal and the pace to run past defenders, his finishing will surely improve and his relentless movement is already a precious resource to unlock stubborn defensive lines. Alexis Sanchez is Alexis Sanchez, possibly the best player in the league and the one able to create something out of nothing; he’s got it all: power, skills, finishing, flair and desire, hopefully he’ll get even better at his second season at the Club.
I know that not all of this is showing at the moment, but we all know form is temporary and finishing is cyclic, hence I wouldn’t worry too much; we have quality, I’m confident we’ll soon see a lot more goals from our strikers.
Many wanted a 30+ goals striker to come in but I prefer having four strikers able to score at least ten league goals each; I prefer to have as many arrows as possible in my quiver and I am happy with what I have.
I am being very conservative when I say each of them can score ten goals in the league, each of them has the potential to score 20+ and who knows how many they will score.
But I know they will score.