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July 2021

It looks like we’ve bought Olivier Giroud. But where will he play, and with whom?

By Tony Attwood

So it is to be Giroud – at least with the BBC and most of the press running the story, and with Untold having run it twice (and let’s not be reluctant to say that the first story was quite a while ago, so even if we were not first, we were at least near the front, well, fairly near…) let’s consider.

The previous two articles have done the background stuff on last season top scorer in La Ligue.  So, unless something goes horribly wrong in France, or Man City come in and offer quadruple the price, and the player is silly enough to take it and believe it is because they want to play him, rather than stop Arsenal getting him, he’s (probably) ours.

And that raises a question.    What is our forward line?

The point is of course that we don’t have a forward line, we have a double forward line.

As Anne suggested at the end of the season, there is reason to consider the point that there might be a deliberate targeting of Arsenal players going on.  Certainly it is one way of explaining our injury records.

And if so, all we can do is

a) Expose the issue as we have done with oddities in refereeing

b) Have extra players

So we have:

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  • Lukas Podolski
  • Robin Van Persie
  • Gervinho
  • Theo Walcott
  • Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
  • Ryo ??? or on loan again
  • Arshavin ??? or transferred to Russia
  • Benik Afobe ??? or loan
  • Joel Campbell ??? depending on status, or maybe more loan out.
  • Sanchez Watt ??? or loan

Which suggests that the following will be going

  • Bendtner
  • Park
  • Chamakh
  • Vela

It is interesting in that I thought this past year Bendtner was far better than Chamakh – who was fine the year before but completely seemed to lose his way.  But it is hard to rate players who are out on loan.

Anyway, without the ? players we have five players (plus Giroud if he does come as seems so likely), and then four ??? players.  Quite an interesting array.

Van Persie can play either centre forward or number 10. Podolski could play on the left.  That would put Theo or Oxland-Chamberlain or Gervinho on the right and make Giroud a back up to Van Persie, (having scored 21 goals in France last season).

But injuries there always are, and quite often two games a week, so this would be a powerful set of alternatives as the season gets going.  How about:

Team a)

Podolski     Van Persie     Theo

Team b)

Gervinho      Giroud    Oxland-Chamberlain

While we are at it, here’s how the midfield is shaping up

  • Diaby – the few minutes we saw of him reminded us of his ability.  Maybe, just maybe his injuries might be over.  After all, Rosicky did come back.
  • Oxland-Chamberlain – if not being used in the forward line
  • Rosicky – a repeat of last season would be fine
  • Arteta – a revelation last season
  • Ramsey – criticised by many, but clearly working his way back and is still young
  • Wilshere – we all hope he’ll be back
  • Song – of course
  • Frimpong – probably not fit for the start of the season but if he keeps his temper, and has no more injuries he should get a chance
  • Benayoun – may return to Chelsea, but he was good towards the end
  • Coquelin – versatile as he can also play right back
  • Lansbury – if not back with us then he will be sold
  • Aneke – probably one season too soon
  • Oguzhan Ozyakup – maybe…

That is 13 players.   Taking it down to six we could have

  • Diaby –
  • Rosicky –
  • Arteta –
  • Ramsey –
  • Wilshere –
  • Song –

And before anyone says I’m a turnip for including Diaby, of course I don’t know if he will survive, but if not, there are still all the others that I haven’t included.  Coquelin is a stunning talent.  As I mentioned, I rate Frimpong.  Lansbury I have only seen occasionally but when I have he looks great.  It is a great array.

Yeah, yeah, yeah (or words like that) say the AAA, it is the defence (noting the number of goals we let in last season), and forgetting that we ran out of full backs.  It looks like Djourou might be off, so let’s discount him for the moment…

But let’s do that in another session.



47 comments to It looks like we’ve bought Olivier Giroud. But where will he play, and with whom?

  • Legolas

    we still need M’villa who can build a WALL with Song on Middle i don’t think we need defense as long as we have M’villa & Song who would dare attack more ? 😛

  • Thundertinygooner

    I believe Ozyakup has defected to Besiktas in Turkey

  • danishgirl

    Oguzhan Ozyakup was sold or is about to be sold. Next season looks good in terms of depth.

  • Ejiofor O

    Oguzhan Ozyakup is no longer an Arsenal Player, signed for Beskitas last week..

  • Novocaine

    Even if Man City offer him greater wages, I think Giroud has his heart set on Arsenal and would accept our lesser terms. He’s apparently already rejected higher wages from Malaga and QPR.

    M’Vila would be a huge boost to the defence. I’ve become a fan of Song over the last couple of seasons (never thought i’d have said that after his first season), but M’Vila is certainly an upgrade defensively and in tough matches, having the pair of them in midfield should tidy things up..

    Would like a defender capable of playing both centre back and right back to a decent standard, allowing us to get rid of Squillaci and Djourou, while loaning Jenkinson to a club he’d be a regular starter for valuable experience. He looked out of his depth last season, and with Sagna out for a while, we can’t cost any defensive lapses costing us points early on and giving us another mountain to climb.

  • shockandawe

    Has Oguzhan Ozyakup not been sold to Besiktas?

  • gimmeg6

    as always insightful.
    of all the arsenal blogs out there
    by far your articles are the most interesting to read as it is not lazy copy-paste-off-mirror process thus i must praise your efforts on that front.

    I really do hope girous signs as he is what arsenal have lacked in many previous seasons.
    a tall powerful target man the out and out type, yes we have had rvp but like he says he is more of a ss befitting the bergkamp role.
    we have missed pyhsical presense at the front line and i believe giroud is indeed the man to bring that to arsenal.
    podolski giroud mvilla and a back up keeper with (am i asking too much??) maybe debauchy the glory days of highbury will be endowed to the emirates and long may those glory days reign over epl.

  • somersetgooner

    DOn’t forget, Ozzy’s gone (or on his way) to Turkey to play for Beşiktaş

  • Heci

    Oxland-Chamberlain – Proper tricky name there. I think Giroud will be the natural replacement for RvP when (if) he goes next season (on a free).

    And I do hope I am proven wrong.

  • TheSKAGooner

    Hey Tony –

    You can take Ozyakup off the midfielders list. He’s transferred to Besiktas (I think). Happened maybe a week or so ago.

  • joel campbell is better than alex the ox so theres no resin for him to go on loan

  • giroud in wow hmmn pls help us get yan m villa,afellay and baines

  • udehsam

    i thought Ozyakup has been sold.. Well if we can get Giroud and M’vila, then our season should be great.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    Hi Tony,

    It’s like you have read my mind! I send a mail to friends of mine only yesterday with our possible squad next season. I lined them up in their potential positions and i soon realised that we have great numbers of high quality players, especially in midfield and up top. I too included Giroud (although we shouldn’t count our chickens just yet!) and Diaby who, on his day is magical.

    It is clear to me that there will be great competition for places next season. The number of midfield players is incredible. And we might add M’Vila to that too. And maybe one or two others. Who knows? Oh yeah, Arsene does.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    I “sent” a mail even…. See how excited i am that i can’t control myself while typing!

  • wot

    Wait wait. How can Song and M’vila play together? Jack Wilsher, Mikel Arteta and there is only 1 place left. Unless we give up of one of the wingers.

  • Byron

    I think the problem is not Diaby being included on your list, Which I still see as a huge problem. The problem is that of your 6 front line mid-fielders.

    You have:

    1)Rosicky- Great player but is getting on in age and can’t play 2 games a week + looks to have picked up a serious injury at Euro 2012.

    2) Arteta- perfect player

    3) Song- Great versatile player

    4) Diaby- If Wenger banks on him playing more than 10games this season and he doesn’t he should get fired for Stupidity.

    5) Ramsey- Would he start at Chelsea, Manu, City or even the Spuds? I think not, I know you are Fans at this site but I don’t think the club should suffer while he is allowed to regain his form!

    6) Wilshire- Due back more than 6 months ago, still no news of concrete improvment.

    7) Coquelin- Good young player dont mind him as back up to song.

    So we have as far as I can tell got very little depth in Mid-Field.

    We are all relying on jack coming back and playing at 100% straight away or Ramsey all of a sudden becoming good. (he has only ever shown promise never end product)Some are even going as far as relying on Diaby.

    All these Forwards are great to have but I for one am very concerned that we have only got 3 mid-fielders I can be confident in!

  • Mo cricketer but love arsenal

    ( read this plz u might like what i think ) SONG AND M’vila would be a rock midfield in the whole 20 teams and can take us all the way to the Cl final and Giroud should be first sub with Podolski or Podolski should be first sub, both sub each other and RVP should sub in some game for OX Chambalain or OX should play some full matches like in carling cup and fa cup the sub with RAMSY OR DIABY. Same again with Walcott should be sub with Gervinio or Gervinio should be sub with Walcott.then back to midfield m’villa,Wilshere,song then Rosicky,Arteta,Ramsey all sub or some full time matches ex like carling cup or fa cup.

  • ogban

    Get M’villa for depth and to make Song sit up.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Could we ask to play with 12 players? 😉

  • ak47

    id be happy to see giroo hop over the channel. but….
    wilshere is still my biggest worry, then the collective defending.

  • Oguzhan Ozyakup left us on 8 June – sorry, everyone is right and I am wrong (nothing new there then).

    My one defence is that today, 14 June at 1510 BST, the site has still got him as an Arsenal player.

    So it isn’t just me.

    But look on the bright side. At least I didn’t include Flamini in the squad.

  • Dayo samuel

    Right now i realy can vouch 4 dis possible gunners squad to upset the apple cats and restore the glory days. Sczesny sagna, santos bosscieny, verminator, per, gibbs, coquelin, song m’vila, jack, arteta, rosicky, rambo, diaby, theo, gervinho, oxlade, podolski, van persie and possibly giroud two aditional goal keepers and a new defender in case djourou leaves. A solid 25 man list dat i strongly think will go all d way come next season.

  • DarthWenger

    Reading the post above, most people believe we are likely to sign M’vila. I think that would be a highly unusual move by Wenger as M’vila is likely to restrict first team chances of some of the young midfielders (Coquelin, Frimpong and possibly Ramsey even). In the past few years, Wenger has been highly reluctant to buy an “established” name if it would restrict the development of a young player breaking into the first team. For that reason I do not think we are likely to buy M’vila. Of course a setback to Wilshere or Diaby could change that (like the Arteta move last season).

  • Tom

    Watching Germany (as Wenger was last night) their 4-2-3-1 formation is similar to what we play now. Moving Van Persie to a no. 10 position (as Mesut Ozil does for Germans) and having Giroud as the ‘Gomez’ of the team, leaves Wilshere as the ‘Schweinsteiger’, Song as the ‘Khedira and Podolski as the erm, ‘Podolski’ of the team. This leaves room for Walcott on the right and Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain as rotational back-up.
    Sagna(when fit) Kos Verm Gibbs

    Song Wilshere

    Walcott Van Persie/Ox Podolski


  • bob

    DarthWenger, all,
    I fear that we’re counting on Wilshere too much, too fast, too soon. There’s clearly a problem. And then to double the pleasure by counting on Diaby is dizzying fun, but dizzying. Form is everything, not names. The midfield is not secure yet and has more reality-based question marks in this moment than anyone should take to the (solvent) bank, fun though it is.

  • Stuart

    With regard to the forward line. I reckon you can take RVP out of that for most of next season.

  • Anne

    So, what’s so great about M’Vila? Why does everybody seem to want him? What would he add to our squad?

  • critic

    instant orgasmic gratification to many fans…until the season starts i.e.

    What’s happening to homegrown quota of players? Bendtner is a home grown and we are adding foreigner to replace him.

    Theo has 1 year left, song has 2. That’s two homegrown players that could be off by next year. We can’t expect M’Villa to replace song.

    In fact considering his homegrown status and importance to the team no one can replace song.

  • Shard


    I took a look at M’Vila’s statistics in some article on Arseblog news (written by Tim- remember him? 🙂 ) recently. I became convinced M’Vila would be a very good addition to the Arsenal midfield. He makes lots of tackles, has very few fouls (though if he’s at Arsenal that won’t last), has good passing stats, his lon balls in particular are fantastic. The onlything he doesn’t do is score goals. With Song going to the ACN this year (most likely – though he was attacked by Cameroon fans recently) and Coquelin perhaps needing to fill in at RB at times, I think someone like M’Vila might be important for us.. However, the media keeps pushing him, and that makes me doubt it will happen. We’ll just see I guess.

  • Anne


    But why would the media keep pushing him? Why does the media have a select group of players that they want us to sign?

  • Shard


    We registered 5 HomeGrown players last season. Bendtner wasn’t one of them.. and 17 non homegrown..

    We’ll have Ramsey and Szczesny who have to be registered this year, and both will be homegrown.. Of the non homegrown ones, I think we could lose as many as 7 (Almunia, Arshavin, Benayoun, Chamakh, Fabianski, Park, Squillaci) .

    We might also lose Mannone and Djourou from the HG players of last year (though I think Djourou will be staying)

    We have lots of room for non homegrown players, and we have a few U-21 players as well who could realistically play some part for our squad. I don’t think we need to worry about HG quota for now.

  • Shard


    I don’t know.. But the media almost always decrees certain players as ‘world class’, and people believe them. They are no judge of quality. I think M’Vila is a good player. But the media pushing him, like they did last year with Cahill does make me suspicious. I’m torn on this because normally I’d just say to forget about a player being drummed up by the media in this fashion. If for no other reason than it’ll push up his price. But I like M’Vila, and think he will be a good addition. So I don’ know what to wish for. I guess I’ll just accept whatever the club decide to do.

  • Adam

    I thought Djourou signed a new contract not long ago? Could be wrong.

  • There were rumours of Johan’s departure, but he shut them down yesterday I think, and yes IIRC he signed a contract very recently.

  • Ed

    i think we should give Coquelin a chance in central midfield. looking at Shards description of M’vila… that can pretty much be applied to a description of Coquelin. makes tackles (i thought he was excellent when playing against Villa at Villa Park last season), technically reminds me of a young fabregas – hardly see him lose the ball or miss a pass and keeps things simple.

    I think that is why rather than spending a lot on a midfielder, we should try and find someone who can play pretty much across the back. id rather coquelin was bedded into one position (and i think midfield is his best position) than doing more work as back-up when our defenders are injured.

  • Arvind

    Its actually simple IMO. MV’ila signs with Song still here = Coquelin gone. If that’s ok we should sign him. Knowing AW I doubt he will and this is just a lot of media hot air. Frimpong might stay as he has been here much longer than Coquelin.

    Tactically the only way I can see both M’Vila and Song here is if we’re switching to a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 or whatever you want to call it with a double defensive pivot. Much like Viera and Petit.

    If we are going to play our current system..there’s only room for 1 DM..and 1 backup. Anyone more is going to be disappointed for sure and on the bench. And if we do play both M’Vila and Song…what happens to Jack, Arteta, Ramsey and Diaby for that matter? Apart from Coq and DenchBoy who I mentioned above?

    So…if Song is off… then the M’Vila rumours and eventual joining make sense. Otherwise its Blaise Matuidi/Obafemi Martins/Sebastian Frey/Hatem Trabelsi..zzzzz all over again ; )

  • ARSENAL 13

    @ ANNE….

    I dont know what others think, but I think M’Villa will only add a new name to the injury list at ARSENAL. He is sitting out now.

    I dont think Mr Wenger would want M’Villa here. As per my knowledge, Mr Wenger is so confident in Frimpongs abilities that he’s been trying to get him into starting 11 for 2 years now (damn injuries).

  • Asif

    The question I would like to ask is that will RvP be willing to play as a no.10 when he has already achieved dizzying heights by being the top striker in the league! Won’t it be a step back?

    M’Vila or any solid defensive midfielder is needed – no matter who it is but someone who is rooted to his zone in front of the defence and not venturing too far out. We have conceded far too many goals with our defence getting caught in attack and our defenders looking silly…yes we have some great players coming through but we also need to look at the season in the short term and to see that we have compact team without any chinks in the armour.

  • Scott

    Anne,I reckon the media keep talking of our “targets” as the more their names appear,the more fans think our club is in for them.
    How many times have we read that Wenger wants a certain player,only to see him sign elsewhere,and Gooners everywhere whinge about another signing we’ve stuffed up?
    Even two weeks ago and were wondering what was taking so long to finalise the Vertonghen signing,yet nobody from Arsenal ever said we were even interested in the guy.
    It creates havoc.

  • MoFire!!!!!!!!!!

    Plan B

    I wish Wenger would recruit players that could be usefull in executing Plan B against the Chelsea-type park-the-bus cowardly defending that is employed by the lower ranking teams and is so prevalent at the Emirates and costs Arsenal valuable Championship points dropped at home!!!!!!!! Arsenal is too predictable to the weaker opposition who don’t see themselves winning at the Emirates.

  • Shard


    I see no reason why a DM signing for us means either Coquelin or Song is leaving. The way I see it, we’d have been in big trouble last season if Song had gotten injured. Even as it is, his performances dropped off towards teh end and I attribute that to fatigue. Also, remember how Gervinho’s form suffered after the ACN. Song’s Cameroon didn’t qualify last year, but I’d be surprised if that happened again this year. WHich means, for two months (possibly more), we’d be without Song’s services.

    Coquelin in my view, is more of an Arteta type player than Song’s direct replacement. Signing M’vIla (or someone of the sort) gives us flexibility and options.

    A deeper midfield of 2 of Song, Arteta, M’Vila (based on tactics, form, injuries) with Coquelin as backup.

    Wilshere and Rosicky to compete for the AM spot, with Ramsey as backup (I like him but he needs to earn a starting spot) Diaby, I think realistically, we shouldn’t count on him at all. If he does manage to stay fit, it’ll be a bonus.

    Without a new Dm, and when we’re missing Song, and especially if Coquelin has to fill in at RB, we’d be short of defensive cover in midfield.

    Also having a DM gives us the option of moving Arteta up to AM if Wilshere/Rosicky are injured. We’ll have plenty of options in tactics and rotating players if we buy a DM.

    If Giroud signs, I see him as a backup to RVP, and as a plan B. Poldi/Gervinho on the left, Theo/Ox on the right, RVP/Giroud in the middle. (Miyaichi to fill in for Gervinho when he’s at the ACN?) Again.. plenty of options.

    So..I think a DM will be important. Frimpong needs to go on loan and stay fit and play for a whole season before he is ready to fill in for Song.

  • Arvind

    @Shard: I’ll go point by point.

    Song to ACN. Arsenal in trouble? Yes agreed. But only because Coquelin got injured too and was covering for fullbacks…and secondly Frimpong would not have been sent to Wolves had Cameroon qualified. AW tried to fast track Frimpong last year itself before his cruciate ( I think) so I’d say he has high hopes. So yes…it would have been tight’ish’ but we would have scraped through. We’d have missed Song more offensively ..than defensively IMO.

    Coquelin more Arteta than Song? Hmm. I’m not sure. I think he is one of those players who will be good wherever he plays; whatever he does. He’s a clone of Flamini if you ask me. I remember him playing quite well in that 8-2 mauling in a pure DM role (well as pure as it gets at Arsenal). I’ll reserve judgement on what he does best after I’ve seen him in midfield for a while.

    Tactically? Yes I agree… if we’re going back to 2 DM’s like Viera/Petit … there’s room for all four..but if we’re gonna play like last season with Song holding ..Arteta beside him and Ramsey/Rosicky linking things…where would you play M’Vila? Starting in place of whom? Yes ACN is a factor but I doubt we’ll pay 17 million for 2 months. Its just not AW. And really…how much better than Coquelin is M’Vila? They’re nearly the same age too. That’s a genuine question; not a dig. What has M’vila really done so far apart from have a great? season at Rennes and break into the France squad? He might well be great one day; but right now..I dunno.

    Injuries? Arsenal? Never enough backup? I guess so yeah. If injuries hit us then all what I said can be ignored and I agree largely with how the midfield can be utilized. Coq at RB/LB isn’t happening again unless we have another awful season with our full backs. Surely it is Gibbs-Santos-Coq and Sagna-Jenkinson-Coq in that order.

    In the end though..I really don’t know what AW will do. The main reason for me saying we won’t get him is because AW lets young players play. He did it with Sylvinho(I was just starting off then) to let Cole play. He did it with Viera to let Cesc play. He let Wilshere play a whole season and run our midfield. So I think ..if Coquelin is good, and he is, from what I’ve seen…if M’Vila is 17 million…and is coming here to ‘sit’ in front of the back four..he’s not coming.

    Of course..I could be proven wrong and made to look like an idiot.. like many times before : ). Until that happens though… I’ll say we don’t need him.

  • Valentin

    Frimpong, Wilshere, Diaby, Rosicky are unlikely to be match fit for the beginning of the season.
    Coquelin can play both the Song role (pure defensive midfield) and the Arteta role (first distributor, English does not have a name for that kind of role) as he very tactically aware. However Sagna will not be fit for the beginning of the season. With potential doubt on Jenkinson fitness, Coquelin is likely to be our righ-back for the first two months of the season. That still leaves us with very few adequate replacement if Song, Arteta or Ramsey need a breather.
    Moreover last season, Alex Song did not play for Cameroon as he got into a scrap with Samuel Eto and his FA. His Uncle is now the national team manager. That means that he will play international football. The international friendlies and other world cup qualifier will take his toll on him. If Cameroon qualify for the ACN (right now that looks unlikely), then potentially he may miss two months of the season.
    With that in mind, getting a central midfield player such as M’Vila, Capoue is be a good idea.
    The only reason why the press keep pushing M’Villa is because we bid for him last season and we made another enquiries this year. However at 17 millions Arsenal will not buy him. The advantage is that M’Villa want to join us. Inter wanted him as a sweetener for Blanc as a coach, but they have instated a new coach who is not interested in M’Villa. The interest from Real is genuine, however he does not fancy going there, to not play and lose his international place a la Lassana Diarra.

  • Ong Bing

    If Giroud join us and Robin not leaves, they can play together.

    Giroud in front, Robin back to number 10, Poldi on the left, Theo on the right, Arteta and Song sit in the middle. What a formation!

    This formation can beat Blacburn 16-1. What? Blackburn not in our league? Ok, then go beat Spud by 7 goals!

  • Matt Clarke

    Several sites are reporting that Wenger says the deal is almost done.

    This sort of revelation is so unusual from MrW that I thought to go to the reported source…French TV channel TV1.

    Now, I cannot play the video as it is region-restricted, so if anyone out there cares to investigate them please do. Meantime the text below the video translate (as reported) to:

    “The Arsenal manager discusses the performance of Olivier Giroud at Euro 2012. Montpellier is the “90%” at the Gunners, according to Wenger”.

  • Matt Clarke

    ..although that could be taken that he is 90% in the style of an Arsenal player I guess.