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Mindless gibberish on the subject of Arsenal centre forwards.

By Tony Attwood

This afternoon, what with there only being tennis on Radio 5, I turned onto the so-called TalkSport, while I was clearing up breakfast.  (It’s a bit like that in my house, but let’s not get sidetracked into domestic issues).

I haven’t listened to the Talking Sprout since, well, since we had wall to wall tennis on the radio and TV a year ago.  And it doesn’t seem to have improved.  In fact the reverse.

As I emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it with the detritus of a morning’s museli, blueberries, coffee and croissants, (held over a discussion of either the philosophy of Wittgenstein or which day the refuse team collect the brown bin – I can’t quite recall which), discussion on the radio turned to Arsenal’s forward line.

According to the experts (I use the word in its loosest sense) Arsenal had no centre forwards of merit.  They have Giroud, who was very much second rate, and Sanogo who was not worthy of the name.

That was the big weakness and if Arsenal go into the next season with just those two as centre forwards then doom and destruction not to mention mid-table mediocrity follows.  Wenger is a complete loony if he doesn’t get it.  After all TalkSprout are here sprouting this stuff every day.  WHY ISN’T HE LISTENING?

Now I did not phone these rather turgid dolmens to point out the error of their conceptions, as I have done that before and they let me on, chuckle and then talk about something else.  But had I phoned the essence of my argument would have been thus…

First, Giroud.  Last season he scored 14 league goals in 27 games.  Not as good as Thierry Henry in his third season, but better than Theirry’s first, and second seasons.  And Thierry had the benefit of not having a serious injury in his third season.

In my view a player who scores more than one goal every two games is not to be sniffed at.  But apparently that ratio is not enough for the almighty intellects of the Sprout.

But what was worse to the point of mindless gibberish and total nonsense, was the fact that only Giroud and Sanogo were included.  I would also consider a certain Theo Walcott.  Lacking experience at centre forward he nonetheless scored  a hat trick against WBA, indeed a hat trick of stunning proportions, and scored a goal in the FA Cup Final.  In fact despite playing so little , in all competitions he got 7 in 21.

Now not that many men score goals in cup finals – especially the all important first goal.  (Incidentally Giroud got one as well, and is was not the simple tap in some have dismissed it as).

But apparently Theo is not to be considered a centre forward.  Not at all.  Never.

So what of Alexis.  Yes we have used him as a winger, but he scored 16 in 35 league games for Arsenal in his first season, most of them on the wing.   We can’t really consider Theo in these comparative stats as he was out for so long, but let’s take Giroud and Alexis.  Giroud whose season was disrupted by injury, and Alexis who was played on the wing.  And not forgetting that it was Alexis’ first season.

14 goals in 27 plus 16 in 35 – those are the two figures of Giroud and Alexis.

Now compare that with Henry and Pires – the last pair of players we had who could change places and score goals at will.  In his third season Pires got 7 in 23.  Add that to Henry’s 24 in 33.  That gives us something to compare with Giroud’s third season and Alexis’ first.  Pires and Henry got 31 goals with 56 games in total.  Alexis and Giroud got 30 in 61.

Now you can say that Henry and Pires were a better combination 31 in 56 beats 30 in 61.  But it is close, and this combination of a winger and a centre forward who can work together is rare, and can bring enormous riches.

Added to which the Cup Final was noticeable for the combination of Theo and Alexis, endlessly alternating between winger and centre forward.  It is not the same tactic as Henry and Pires, but there are similarities.

But there is then more, because we haven’t mentioned Danny Welbeck.  Another player whose season was disrupted by injury.  And we should not forget he is only 24.  Danny didn’t deliver league goals last season, but he showed enormous talent and ability, and let us not forget the FA Cup goal against Man U, and the hat trick in the Champions League.

So, is it Giroud and Sanogo, or is it Giroud, Alexis, Walcott and Welbeck, plus Sanogo in a year or two?

Put another way was the ignorance of the Sprout genuine or a deliberate wind up?  Actually I wouldn’t mind if it were a wind up, but I fear that it was genuine.  The people in the studio honestly didn’t realise the tactical deliverance Wenger is offering… a variation on the Henry/Pires approach with much more substantial back up.

Plus, they haven’t actually noticed how the game is changing.  The game is increasingly about the interplay of players rather than about star turns.  The game is about finding a way to beat the parked bus that will be Sam Allerdyce’s lasting gift to the Premier League.  The variation of Walcott/Alexis, Alexis/Giroud, Giroud/Walcott with Danny Wellbeck developing all the time is sadly way beyond the comprehension of the presenters on TalkSprout.

For the likes of such stone monuments, if it can’t be said in three words it is not worthy of comment.

But then I suspect it was ever thus.

On the Arsenal History Site: How each pre-season measured up under Wenger

46 comments to Mindless gibberish on the subject of Arsenal centre forwards.

  • Dex

    Talkshite is utter garbage and over simplistic sensationslist controversy seeking populist bollocks.

    But Arsenal do need a top class striker though.

  • Mad Eye

    Don’t worry Dex we’re about to get Higuain, Benzema, Gotze, and Vargas. Thery’re all DONE DEALS apparently, until we get SNUBBED by them. Roll on some real football…

  • Bernard Marcano

    Wonderful article. My only qualm is that there was no mention of star in the making Chuba Akpom. Already ahead of Sanogo. Will be a better finisher than Welbeck. A Walcott/Welbeck hybrid.

  • Jambug

    Every year Talkshite write Arsenal off.

    Every year they tell us how Wenger has lost it.

    Every year they criticise our signings.

    Every year they tell us how we will drop out of the top 4.

    Every year they tell us how brilliant Liverpool are in the transfer market.

    Every year they tell us how brilliant spurs are in the transfer market.

    Every year they tell us how there’s going to be a ‘power shift’ in North London.

    Every year they are wrong.

    You’d of thought that by now they’d of realised just how idiotic they sound.

    It seems not.

    It makes me so pleased to see 2 Arsenal employees, Perry Groves and Adrian Clarke, are only too happy to work in this particular cesspit of anti Arsenal propaganda.

  • Jambug


    I take it you didn’t notice how, once Giroud and Ozil where fit, and Bellerin and Le Coq had come into the side, (and I’m ignoring Theo, Jack and the OX, who hardly figured all season) how we actually won the 2nd half of the season?

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t welcome another striker, but so would Chelsea, ( Oh they’ve already signed one, I forgot 😆 ) City, United, Spurs, Liverpool and just about every other Club, but I would suggest all of there needs are at least as great as ours, and in many cases more.

    So don’t you think ‘want’ or would ‘welcome’ are more appropriate than ‘need’?

    Or is it just me?

  • TailGunner

    I think it’s good that TS continuously feature Arsenal. If they didn’t I’d be concerned. Who was it that said “all publicity is good publicity” They are crap though aren’t they!
    Arsene prefers not to talk of centre forwards, but “goal scorers “, of which we have plenty and is the whole point of the articles.
    I think we have the best goal scoring force in the PL but wouldn’t complain if another specialist were added. I think we’ll need one for the CL campaign.

  • Tony
    As usual, right to the point!
    However, what the mindless don`t say is that Giroud scoring 14 in 27 games is the equivalent of 19, had he played all games.
    What the mindless also don`t measure is the way Giroud brings others into the game with his flicks which lead to goals often with his back to goal
    Like Danny with his running, opening up spaces for others to play into
    Football is a team game, a concept that Wenger understands. But don`t knock it if the mindless dont understand
    Makes it easier for the Arsenal to exploit

  • kelvin

    Look dudes, it’s high time we gooners sit and analyse games and players for ourselves rather than play into the hands of these cunts called pundits who obviously have been payed to always talk shit against our darling team. For once give Giroud credit, the guy got 14 in 27 and no penalties missing 2months, I bet if it were aguero who had those figures under same circumstances then we all will be fed stories about how incredible he is as a striker. To the topic of Higuain, I have never seen this dude as world class, he just never turns up on the big occasion, check his stats while playing in the el classico, look at the world cup final, now look at the Copa final. He may be a thin line better than Giroud but not world class

  • Gord

    Jambug, Finsbury, Rich et al

    Does the format in the comment pointed to below work for you, or do you want something different or other things?

    I made that by manual editing. But, I think I might have a program to produce the same thing. I am thinking as far as getting into card analysis more deeply.

  • Jambug



    Firstly, I posted this (twice) in the wrong thread.

    Secondly, I posted with a couple of words that may of been the reason for it going into ‘Moderation’ anyway.

    I have edited it, and now posted on the correct thread. My apologies if all three end up out of moderation.

    Anyway this is my point:


    Oli Price-Bates for Sunday 5 Oct 2014 8:21 am

    Podolski pleased the fans for a while with his lethal finishing, but that sharpness has gone and he is visibly slowing down. Being an early bloomer seems to be paying it’s price for Podolski, whose career took off as a teenager. He’s a nice guy, but he’s not good enough any more. Out wide he looks lost and lazy and upfront he needs a partner in order to play his best football.

    Read more:

    Tom Olver for Saturday 4 Jul 2015 4:06 pm

    Gunners fans will be sad to see Podolski leave, and as these stats suggest, he definitely was no flop at the north London club.

    Read more:

    THIS is why you should ignore the rubbish these people spout about us, and our players.

    When it suits our players are garbage and should be sold. The second they’re sold, they all of a sudden become World beaters.

    These people are fools, no more, no less.

  • bob

    However you continually play it, Tony, Giroud and Welbeck are not clinical enough finishers. And, injuries or not, Giroud’s performance at Monaco (oh, yes, those things will happen, repeat, repeat) is a cautionary tale about over-reliance on him. My bet is that AW is looking to complement him and Danny on the front line. I’m happy to be wrong, but it’s not just the number of goals, but when they are made and who’s the opposition, to say the obvious. And I don’t see Giroud or Welbeck as posing serious problems to Chelsea’s defense – our major opponent in the genuine trophy run to come. We’ll see how AW plays it, but there are footballers (ex-AFC for that matter) who have been saying the same thing; and whose analyses and instincts should carry far more weight that my intuitions and your stats.

  • allezkev

    I am surprised that you found the enlightened output of Talk Sport so disappointing…
    Considering the array of talented experts that they have to offer us…

    Surely the insightfulness of Darren Gough must had held you spellbound.

    My day wouldn’t be complete without his pearls of wisdom…

  • Jambug


    To cite ex Arsenal players as a genuine source of ‘Critique’ is tenuous in the extreme.

  • Gord


    Stewart Robson is nothing but criticism.

  • john

    The next philosophical discussion will be about the meaning of “clinical”. How many goals does OG have to score to attain this status?

    Also, when will we know whether Theo has acquired a “football brain” to accompany his acknowledged “pace”?

    Perhaps about the same time as Arsenal find some “leaders” and develop a “spine”.

    The obvious solution is to replace Mr. Wenger with Stewart Robson.

  • Jambug


    Indeed. He gives Durham a run for his money.


    You’re forgetting how we try to ‘Walk it in’ with our ‘tippy tappy’ style of play.

    Or our shameful ‘Red card count’.

    Or our embarrassing divers.

    Honestly, I don’t know why we bother.

  • Gord

    I need a 30 second break.

    I’ll take a shot at clinical as far as strikers goes.

    Being clinical cannot be decided on the basis of shots in a single game, but can be done on a season basis. Multiple seasons should be treated individually.

    In a 38 game season, a player getting 2 shots per game will have 76 shots in a season. As 76 is closer to 81 than 64, we will say the standard deviation is 9.

    If more than 58 of those shots are on target, the accuracy is clinical. If more than 40 of those result in goals, the finishing is clinical.

    If more than 18 shots are blocked, the person isn’t a striker. Maybe a person needs to bump this to 27?

  • Al

    “I think it’s good that TS continuously feature Arsenal.”

    Good in what way exactly?? In that this continued assault will turn more fans against the club perhaps?

    And I thought I’d seen it all. Wish I’d seen this thread first before my longish post on the other thread at 9:19pm.

    Just wondering; am I the only one detecting this duplicity? Surely hope not….

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    As far as good and potential forwards are concerned, Arsenal have them 7 in numbers in the first team. And 4 out of the 7 are senior striker/wide players. A demand by 2 wide Gunners has been tendered to the Boss for his consideration. And the Boss looked like he has considered Walcott request as he was played as a striker at the end of last season. Would the Boss also considers Welbeck’s request to also play as a striker? I think the Boss should consider Welbeck as a striker too. If the Boss agrees, the Gunners will start the coming season with 3 possible strikers, 2 of which are versatile as they can play as wide men but Giroud is not versatile. Welbeck could have a breakthrough season if he’s played centrally in rotation with Giroud and Walcott as I have suggested. And Walcott could also have a better returns of goals as he too strikes centrally in rotation with Giroud and Welbeck. Giroud who is the resident striker could as well have a stronger goal returns than he had last season. My thought on the 3 is, as the Boss plays them centrally in rotation, they won’t become overplayed as was in the case of playing only Giroud centrally. And the chance of any of the 3 getting that big injury that may sidelined him for months should be minimized to the barest minimum as they won’t be tired but always fresh. I have said and am saying again that, no striker at Arsenal should be overplayed next season to potentially gets the maximum best out of the 3 of them. Signing another striker is unecessary. But the Boss should sign a top quality left back and a top quality right winger this window which will be crucial to defining Arsenal season next season.

  • Pat

    Very good arguments on our striker position, Tony.

    I can’t understand how you can bear to listen to Talk Sport, even while doing the chores. I recommend recordings of Jeeves and Wooster, harmless entertainment and a lot less aggravating. The time passes amusingly and the chores are done!

  • Pat

    PS What have you got against tennis?

  • Pat

    Hey, it looks as if my avatar has changed. Weirdly, it looks like Bertie Wooster!

  • john


    Thank you for your observation. I should have remembered our weakness in always wanting to score the “perfect goal”, as well as our inability to defend set-pieces, because of our porous defence.

    Plus the fact that Jack is “injury-prone”, because he “invites” fouls by not getting rid of the ball quickly enough.

    Then there is our failure to replace Dixon, Winterburn, Bould, Adams, Keown etc. etc.

    A final thought: Is a “clinical goal scorer different from a “proven” goal scorer? Plus, is a “world-class” goal scorer different again?

  • goonermikey

    It’s not called talkshite for no reason……….although I think ‘talk complete and utter bollocks with extremely malicious intent’ would be more appropriate!

  • TailGunner

    You’re so fond of saying “context is everything”, and here you are quoting out of context. I wonder why .
    My post was tongue in cheek, But as you’ve had a humour bypass you wouldn’t have spotted it. And I also said “they are crap”.
    Give it up you fool, I’ve got you Sussed.

  • TailGunner

    Sorry, my post at 11.59 was directed at my own personal troll Al who’s been trolling me for three months and who just won’t give up, but I’ve said all I’m going to so I’ll leave him to self explode all on his own.

  • Masterstroke


    Your own personal troll.
    You should be so lucky. I’ve read his rants against you and to tell the truth he just seems a bit sad. I think he sees this as his own cozy little corner which you’re making untidy. Beware though, he’s got support from the madman from Manhattan.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Jambug…spot on…every team would love to have a ‘world class’ striker added to their lineup – Arsenal included…unfortunately, that is largely a mythological appellation.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And how are we going to settle our disputes now ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Agree With Idiots To Gain Trust

  • Al

    If you look at the comments on the thread about the nonsense being regurgitated in the papers only one comment thought the papers are doing a good job. And when you look at this thread only one comment thinks the daily rabid attack on Arsenal by talk sprout is a good thing. Both comments were made by the same person!

  • Al

    There’s absolutely no humour in your post , none whatsoever. Stop trying to infer that you were trying to be. And your throwing the bit about them being crap ain’t fooling anyone; the gist of your post was to say that TS are doing a good job. Your posts are like that most of the time anyway, you praise then throw in a little bit of criticism so that when you’re called out you say but I acknowledged….

    In the years I’ve been reading UA you’re the first person to praise talkshite. Where you also trying to be tongue in cheek when you praised the media rags?

    Everyone else commenting on this article rips into talkshite apart from you and your other half, whose name sounds like a description of an expert at an activity that I suspect him and you’re experts in. Now fuck off you little weasel, and while you’re at it please take masterwanker with you.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Two police officers responding to a domestic disturbance with shots fired arrive on the scene.
    After discovering the wife had shot her husband for walking across her freshly mopped floor,
    they call their sergeant on his cell phone.
    “Hello, Sarge ?”
    “Yes ?”
    “It looks like we have a homicide here.”
    “What happened?”
    “A woman has shot her husband for stepping on the floor she had just mopped.”
    “Have you placed her under arrest?”
    “No sir. The floor is still wet !”

  • Jambug


    Keep up the good work.

    Your observations are spot on.

    Like Tom, Tailgunner and his wingman Masterstroke, will all try to come over as positive and supportive, but almost every post has un underlying tone of negativity.

    That isn’t to say that Tom and Tailgunner don’t often make valid points and good posts, they certainly do. (the less said about Masterstroke the better) This is more about a tone.

    A phrase my dad used to use seems appropriate:

    They are always ‘In for a dig’.

    They will never miss an opportunity to go against the consensus. No matter what statistics are produced, they mean nothing. Tom is particularly obsessed with debunking the refereeing reviews.

    As you quite rightly point out, to even suggest that being abused on Talkshite every day is a ‘good thing’ shows a completely warped mind set and a total lack of appreciation as to the amount of damage this constant negativity does to our Fans, Team and Club, as a whole.

    It’s like suggesting having our players legs broken is ‘not all bad’ as it gives a chance to the fringe players, and at least it keeps us in the news.

    Yes it’s a point of view I suppose, but not a particularly valid or intelligent one.

    Anyway, I know they’ll jump on me for backing you, but I enjoy your posts and almost always have a similar take on things, as I do now.

    I have pretty much given up arguing with them because as with politics and religion, it is highly unlikely you are ever going to change them, and visa versa.

  • TailGunner

    I think you need to read my post at 8.49 (the one your wingman Al objects to ), and you’ll see that it was tongue in cheek.
    But I agree with some of what you say about my personality. It probably comes from my trade union background of not accepting the given word and challenging everything.
    Don’t know about Masterstroke….he’s a yank.

  • Va cong

    Al and Jumbug it’s always easier to criticise than to make a valid point, stay pioneers guys you have great analysis and positive energy. And then the other side of the spectrum…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “When people throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones”
    – ‪#‎SachinTendulkar‬ ‪#‎inspirationalquote‬.

    Me ? I’ll collect all those stones and make a millstone ( or two!) to put around your neck and kick you off the pier !

  • Al

    Spot on.

  • TailGunner


    I can’t be held responsible for your lack of humour. My post was intended as such and you’re the only person to take exception to it. Why do you think that is?
    You’re making it quite clear why you continuously troll me though, even though I never bother you after reading some of your hysterical rants.
    It doesn’t matter one bit to me though, I always thought you were a cnut, and now that you’ve elevated yourself to international status think you could cnut for England.

  • TailGunner


    About a week ago after your last session of trolling me you said you wouldn’t comment on my posts anymore and said I should do the same with yours. Well I’ve kept my side of the deal, so how about you?
    I don’t like this unpleasantness anymore than you do. So let’s call a truce and leave it there.

  • Andy Mack

    TalkShite is only good for one thing.
    It’s remarkably effective as a cure for low blood pressure.
    It’s completely useless for anything else.
    Rubbish pundits (certainly not experts) with little understanding of anything beyond the ‘Kick and Chase’ football they were taught as kids, even if they played for short-ball teams they still don’t understand it.

  • esxste

    Talksport is like Jeremy Kyle for football fans. The purpose of it is to get people to ring up and have a ‘debate’. And just like Jeremy Kyle, the presenters prefer brainless, ill-informed morons that they can easily take down.

    And to get those morons worked up enough, they have spout provocative nonsense that they can wrap their minds around.

    That it enrages anyone with a sense of logic is besides the point.

  • bob mac

    All the top modern teams DO NOT play with a centre forward, in the old fashioned sense.

    Arsene has equipped Arsenal with a superbly gifted and talented attacking team……….what more do you want.

    Positions of the front 5 are totally irrelevant.

  • dieter

    July 6, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    I had to sneak in and back you up, because no-one else ever would. Very valid points, and I totally agree.

  • Micheal Ram

    I’m pretty sure most EPL defenders will admit Giroud is the most physical opponent they played against and Alexis as the most dangerous opponent they ever faced. We have both at Arsenal. Be glad.

  • Jambug


    Did it occur to you that perhaps nobody backs him up because nobody thinks he’s right about this?