There’s a story up on the Arsenal official site about how Arsene Wenger will change the style of play depending upon which striker he chooses.
It’s interesting, not least for the fact he mentions Podolski, Giroud and Gervinho, but nobody else. Specifically not Walcott. Well I say specifically – Arsene doesn’t exclude anybody.
Technically Walcott, The Ox and Chamakh are all strikers. Technically.
Walcott wants a strikers role in the middle, up the front. Many would argue that the times he’s had that role, he hasn’t always taken his chances. Sometimes he has, but arguably not often enough.
- We have Podolski, a tough physical kind of striker who will force his way through and slam the ball in.
- We have Giroud who is more likely to finesse the ball into the net.
- We have Gervinho, a scrambly kind of player who can score from anywhere (in the box) provided the ball can be got to him,
- Walcott who is better at firing in from an angle left or right side, but not from the centre – at least not yet as far as we’ve seen.
- The Ox, who so far has been better hitting it longer range, but looks more like a striker of the Podolski type.
- And of course Chamakh. I’ve even forgotten what kind of striker he is, but I vaguely remember him getting on the end of crosses and taking headers. It’s been a while.
What other options do we have?
We have a slew of attacking midfielders who can get goals:
- Cazorla, of course.
- Rosicky, still to return, started making an impact last season,
- Arshavin of course,
- and arguably Diaby, when uninjured. It’s been a while.
I’m liking the ability to get goals from all around the team rather than depending on one striker.
I don’t think Arsene, much as he talks about different styles, has to change much, if anything. Playing at least two of our striking options virtually guarantees a mix of styles and it’s that mix which can cause problems for the opposition.
Opposing teams struggle harder against mixed styles than against a single style. It’s easier to neutralise one striker, even with a team all driving forward with that one striker at their head, than it is to neutralise striking options coming from all over the pitch.
Arsenal have been here before though, and it wasn’t as successful later on in the season – largely through injuries. The multi-style-strikers approach failed because we didn’t have enough strikers, enough on-form strikers, and were hit badly by injuries. This time I do believe we have enough strikers, and while I can’t say we won’t be hit by injuries, the strength of Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain makes me more confident than the fragility of some strikers we’ve had in the past.
Tomorrow will be exciting at least regardless of the result, but I expect, like me, most Arsenal fans are confident we can do it.
C’MON YOU GUNNERS!