Deep down inside, Arsene Wenger wishes he had a better striker than Olivier Giroud. However, on the current Arsenal team, he is the best he’s got, which is weird (or not, depending on how familiar you are with the French manager’s logic) he’d put himself with his back against the wall until opting to use the forward to save himself from the first loss of the season.
Wenger sometimes thinks he’s too clever for his own good. Anyone who has watches Alexis Sanchez knows he isn’t a lone striker type and can’t play without someone next to him or in front of him. Arsenal looked abysmal for one half at Goodison Park, going down 2-0 against a dangerous Everton side, making the most of Romelu Lukaku once again tormenting Nacho Monreal on the left side of Arsenal’s defense.
Going by the first half, it looked like once another terrible performance from a side that’s filled with talent but bends and break against tough opposition, against big teams. However, coming back from behind through goals by Aaron Ramsey and Giroud showed character. It wasn’t a win, but a draw in a tough stadium, and a perfect example of why this season might be different to everything we’ve seen over so many years from Wenger’s teams.
Is Giroud suddenly the answer to all of Arsenal’s problems? No. However, due to Arsene Wenger doing quite poorly in terms of finding a striker on the transfer market or making a system that doesn’t need one, he’s the best solution he has. Arsenal looked like a completely different team in the second half, making the most of a very weak Everton defense, built with one good centre back, another aging one and two wing backs who think more about attacking than covering their lines.
What about Alexis Sanchez? Wenger blamed fitness for his poor performance. But are so many players unfit? Mesut Ozil had another one of those matches where you find it hard to believe he’s actually on the pitch. His name is on the team sheets, but except for showing up in the picture when Santi Cazorla set up the goal for Aaron Ramsey, Ozil’s contribution was minimal, not to say non existent.
Balance is an important thing with a squad. Louis van Gaal can talk to Arsene Wenger about it for days. But Wenger himself has that problem, because if your only solution to scoring problems is using a limited striker like Olivier Giroud, all the while constantly bringing in more players to bolster a crowded attacking midfield, it means someone hasn’t been doing his homework this summer, which is nothing new to an Arsenal team.