Arsenal midfield must share goal burden

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Football News

Arsenal fans may have paid close attention to Olivier Giroud's strong start to the season, but with the Frenchman now fit and firing a star-studded midfield must chip in with a consistent supply of goals for the Gunners to mount a serious title challenge.

With Arsenal's options in attack limited thanks to Lukas Podolski's torn hamstring the spotlight has been on Giroud in recent weeks, and thankfully for Gunners fans the former Montpellier man has taken that responsibility on with relish.

Three goals in as many Premier League games so far this season shows Giroud is a striker finally playing with the same confidence and impressive predatory instincts that saw him fire Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title in 2012.

Giroud may be playing with a freedom that suggests he will beat a mark of 11 goals in his debut Premier League campaign, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger now needs his extensive list of creative midfielders to find their touch in the final third.

A feature of Arsenal's impressive finish to last season was their ability to find goals in all areas, with Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla joining Giroud and Podolski in double figures for the campaign.

Walcott in particular is a source of goals the Gunners desperately need to step forward if Giroud is marked out of a match, or becomes isolated in attack.

During the first half of last season Walcott was prolific, discovering a more assured style in one-on-one situations that Arsenal fans have been crying out for.

After signing a new long-term contract at the Emirates in January the goals started to dry up though, with just three goals coming in final four months of the campaign.

If Walcott can find the rich vein of form he enjoyed in patches last season then Wenger will be purring about his side's chances of securing silverware.

Cazorla is another player equally adept at scoring from range or finishing off an intricate move inside the penalty area, with 12 goals to show for his debut campaign in England.

As in Walcott's case though the goals dried up as the pressure piled on last season, with the diminutive Spaniard failing to find the net in 11 of Arsenal's last 12 matches as the race for Champions League qualification reached its climax.

Add £42.4million acquisition Mesut Ozil's record of netting double figures in all competitions in two out of three seasons at Real Madrid and the Gunners suddenly look like a side capable of adding goals aplenty from midfield.

Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are also players more than capable of making a concerted effort to improve their goal tally, while Mikel Arteta has proved reliable from the penalty spot.

With the Gunners finally showing a steely-determination and fighting spirit in their late charge for fourth place last season, the ingredients are starting to take shape for a positive future at the Emirates under Wenger.

Wenger's extensive midfield options must now match their ability to keep possession with end product, helping to ease the pressure on Giroud as he continues to build momentum in a lone front role.

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Aaron Ramsey
Jack Wilshere
Theo Walcott
Santi Cazorla
Premier League

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