It’s pretty clear that no matter what, Theo Walcott will not be playing as a striker for Arsenal, but using Lukas Podolski in that position isn’t exactly the greatest of solutions. So how does it still work? Forgetting about possession football that has been a huge part of the gunners’ DNA over the last few years, and simply relying on solid defending and quick counter attacking, which only needs smart and quick decision making on the break instead of players in certain positions.
Podolski scored twice as Arsenal sent Wigan down to the Championship with a 4-1 win, starting off with a Podolski goal and after some tense moments in the second half became quite an enjoyable affair, as Wigan pressed in dire need of saving themselves from the drop, while Arsenal used their speed up front to make them pay for carelessness in attacking.
The win also created an interesting situation. Arsenal still aren’t clear at the top of the table, having one match more left to play at Newcastle away, one point above Tottenham at fifth. A win will surely put them in the champions league, a draw or loss and it depends on what Spurs do, with goal difference leaning towards the gunners.
The interesting situation comes from their chances to finish third. Chelsea have a two point lead over Arsenal, which means that a Chelsea loss and an Arsenal win gives the gunners third, which also means not having to go through qualification matches into the UCL group stage. But there’s also a chance of a play-off match for third, if a certain scenario happens.
Because the two teams have an almost identical scoring situation this season, if Arsenal beat Newcastle 2-1 while Chelsea end their season on a goalless draw with Everton, or anything on that scale which leaves the team with the same amount of point, goals scored and goals conceded, we’ll have another stand off between the two London clubs to determine who is third and who is fourth. The fact that Cheslea have beaten Arsenal twice this season holds no ground in the FA’s calculations.
Back to the actual football – maybe this is the direction Arsenal should be heading into, after suffering for so long against more practical sides. Arsene Wenger’s “beautiful football” routine hasn’t brought Arsenal much success. Money and style? Yes, but it hasn’t been enough for even challenging the Premier League title over the last five seasons. Trying to win through decent defending, a side that is improving for Arsenal, while relying on speed up front, which is guaranteed considering the players at their disposal (not including the still suspended Olivier Giroud).
Out of the current top 4, Arsenal look like the only team that isn’t going to have a new manager next season. Stability above everything, is what Arsene Wenger is preaching to, hoping his owners hear him. Maybe, by changing his own ways and approach to the tactics of the game, can he finally break the glass ceiling he himself put above his club’s head, denying them access to the “really big boys club.”