Arsenal have been bolstered in unexpected ways this season.
The landmark summer signing of Mesut Özil has greatly improved the squad's potency going forward and Aaron Ramsey’s newfound electric form has arguably been equally if not more influential in their success thus far.
At the time of writing, Ramsey is the squad’s top scorer with 13, trumping frontman Olivier Giroud. As Arsenal’s top scorer often playing in a deep playmaker role, his endeavours cannot be understated.
Scoring goals has not been difficult for Arsenal this season despite playing Giroud as a lone forward in almost every game. People can hardly be critical of the Frenchman for allowing a midfielder to be the highest scorer as his performances have been excellent each time he pulls on the Gunners jersey.
His role within the Arsenal squad has become essential to the team's success, and his ability to hold up the play and allow the midfield talents to flourish in the final third has been an exceptionally powerful tool.
Giroud acts as a spearhead directing Arsenal’s attacks and is arguably one of the most effective lone strikers in Europe at the minute. His performances showcase what an effective lone striker can bring to a highly creative midfield and serves to highlight the shortcomings of similarly tasked strikers such as Roberto Soldado and Fernando Torres.
Giroud’s tally of seven goals and four assists doesn’t tell a complete story as his participation in countless phases of play is invaluable to the overall team effort. However, when compared to Soldado’s four goals and two assists and the combined three goals and seven assists of Eto’o and Torres, the big Frenchman’s influence does become clear.
What will be vitally important to Arsenal’s continued prolificacy is that Giroud remains fit and able to play in both the Premier League and Champions League. If he was to miss an extended period of time through injury Arsenal would certainly struggle to find an effective replacement from within their own ranks.
The injury stricken Lukas Podolski is employed mainly in a wider role and despite scoring against Hull, Nicklas Bendtner is ultimately not good enough to take on consistent first team duties.
Regardless of having a similar build and playing style to Giroud, his lack of technical ability and goal-scoring prowess leave him unfit to deputise should the main man become unavailable. Theo Walcott has proven useful as a lone striker in the past however Wenger has always preferred utilising his blistering pace in right midfield.
Thus, should Arsenal be serious about a title challenge this year they must bring in another striker in January.
The team is otherwise solid with back-up players waiting to impress in both the defence and the midfield however their thin attacking options could see them falter as the campaign wears on.
To perform as a strong target man and integrate Arsenal’s intricate passing style as Giroud does is a rare talent and finding such a talent may prove difficult for Arsene Wenger. Wenger may have to adjust the team's style to accommodate a different style of striker however he must not take chances in the January window.
If he's serious about give Arsenal a chance of continuing their charge for the title, Wenger must splash the cash and sign a striker.
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