If anyone needed convincing, a Saturday at Old Trafford was more proof of how Arsene Wenger made a huge mistake by putting the hopes and dreams of Arsenal in the legs of Olivier Giroud; not the only problem the team has, but certainly not a striker of the adequate level for a team that talks about winning the Premier League and bigger titles.
It’s a bit harsh blaming everything on the French striker, who does work hard during the match, but just isn’t fast enough or quick enough or simply god enough to find his way to the goal without a lot of help. The lineup that Wenger fielded wasn’t there to help or win. Just make it a slow match, and hope that the nightmarish 8-2 from the previous year doesn’t return.
No wings. Aaron Ramsey isn’t and will never be a winger. Wenger simply flooded the pitch with central midfielders, while Lukas Podolski, a winger-forward, was mostly busy chasing after Rafael and Antonio Valencia on the wing. No joining Giroud in the box, and not offering one cent of danger or anything positive at all. It was easy to forget he was on the pitch until he left at the 81st minute for Arshavin to come on.\
Jack Wilshere, only a week after coming back from over a season of rehab, doesn’t need to be the one to carry this team, especially in this kind of match. But Santi Cazorla is no longer a great kept secret, and everyone knows he is most of what makes Arsenal tick. Instead of trying something creative and putting Cazorla on the wing to actually create some width and space in Arsenal’s attack, it was mostly just slow and predictable passing in the middle, while Giroud hardly offered a viable option just a few meters ahead of the ball.
And then there’s the whole Theo Walcott case. He’s on the bench because he’s not signing a new contract, not because Giroud is a better player. If Wenger thinks that this is the way to convince an unhappy player to sign for less money than what he thinks he deserves, well, he’s wrong, and not for the first time.
A manager who’s brilliant at spotting and developing talent usually lets every gem slip out of his fingers. When you’re managing a football team based on economic achievements and not actual footballing achievements, it’s hardly a surprise when they’re out of the title race so quickly, looking so weak and lacking any kind of intimidation in their two big matches against Chelsea and Manchester United.
And maybe even his eye for talent isn’t that great anymore. When you base your entire hopes of scoring goals on a player that only begins his scoring at the age of 24, playing in the French League, you’re settling. Selling Giroud as the great big replacement for Robin van Persie is a con-man’s job, only the problem is everyone can see very quickly that it’s all one big hoax. Giroud’s career is looking more and more like another disappointment, Marouane Chamakh, only the Moroccan striker was brought for free.