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July 2021

Why Arsenal don’t need to buy anyone at all

By Tony Attwood

We’ve already had a chat about the ludicrous lists of players that Arsenal are “set to” buy and are on “high alert” about.  Pity the poor player who Arsenal is only “monitoring” – you’re nothing – way down the list.  These days “monitoring” hardly merits a mention in the press.

I bring this up because Mr Wenger talked to the press this weekend about how saturday’s goals were “close to perfection”, and how the fact that he did not sign a striker meant that Giroud had more time to adapt.  He added, “Giroud is amazing because he develops well.  If you compare his technical level when he arrived to how it is today, he has highly improved. Now he enjoys combining much more. From a player who was just thinking ‘I have to score’, he has become a real team player.”

So in the course of a year Giroud has become a rounded player.  In the course of just two months we have moved from a team desperately in need of more bodies to one that hardly has any room left to fit everyone in.

But the debate continues, and it is announced that we are only one injury away from disaster, because we don’t have a ready made centre forward to step into Giroud’s shoes if he is injured.

I’m not sure this is right, because these debates about transfers always seem to ignore some key points, and are always focussed on the simplest situation.

Let’s imagine we had bought a £20m striker in August – would he be in the current team?  At whose expense?  I wouldn’t want to see Ramsey excluded for the sake of a striker.  Would we have left out Santi Cazorla on saturday, to give the new man a place?

No, the team is built around one centre forward with the players behind – especially Ozil – joining in the fun.

So the new centre forward would either not be getting games, or would be alternating with Giroud, or would be replacing Giroud, none of which seems to me very satisfactory on any front, especially since some commentators of the most intellectually robust variety made Giroud man of the match

The counter argument is that we need someone in case Giroud gets injured.   But does that mean a player in the £20+ bracket will step forward and sign, in order to sit on the bench?  That seems unlikely.

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And that explains quite simply the solution that we have.   First we have Theo and Podolski who can play centre forward – indeed both have said that they like to play centre forward.

Then we have young Sanogo.  We’ve hardly seen enough of him to know what he can do  but clearly Mr Wenger has a huge belief in the player for the future.

“Ah yes” comes the reply, “but none of that would have helped if Giroud had got injured during these past weeks.  We’d have had no centre forward.”

That of course is true – but equally true is the point that you cannot prepare for everything.  One season we got through seven left backs and ended up with Flamini playing there.   What were we supposed to do to cover that?  Have seven left backs all ready to play in the first team, with at least five of them knowing they will never get a game, because this season we injured six defensive midfielders?

The reality is that you prepare a squad for most eventualities, including having players who can play in several positions, but you know you can get caught out.   At the moment we are at an extreme position with Theo, Podolksi and Sanogo all out.   Within a couple of weeks we will have Theo back and ready to play, and if in the meantime Giroud were to get injured we would have to play Bendtner.

Now I have no idea how good or bad Bendtner is any more.  He hasn’t played enough recently, hardly getting games last season, but looking anywhere between decent and rather good when he has played for us and Denmark this season.

His position with the club is as a stop gap, and he will eventually go unless he really does suddenly become a superb player, but given the small number of games he will get this season, there can’t be much of a case for replacing him with a mega expensive proven centre forward.

But what is remarkable is just how quickly the press and their allies in the blogs will come forward with the “Arsenal look a bit short” line upon every injury.   Flamini gets concussion, and immediately Arsenal is short because we don’t have anyone to replace him, it is said.

Yet again the same arguments apply.  Leaving aside the sneering that the anti-Arsenal “fans” heaped upon Mr Wenger when Flamini was signed, the fact is he’s done a great job for us, and anyone who  steps into his shoes because of Flamini’s injury will know he will only get a few games.  So again, no £20m player is going to come in.

But it is possible to create a defensive midfield wall out of any two from Ramsey, Arteta and Wilshere.  Not want we might want given what Ramsey and Wilshere did on saturday, but still possible for the short term.

In the end what I think we want are more Zelalem’s and Gnabry’s – players who will be able to come into the team for a few games and then drop down again, knowing that as yet their time is still to come, while recognising they are still learning their trade.

So let me finish with the stories surrounding Vermaelen – stories to the effect that if he doesn’t get his place back soon, he’ll think about leaving.

I’ve no idea if he said that, or anything like it, although it seems unlikely to me.  But his position is the perfect example of this.  Yes we have three centre backs of high quality.  But the line up only demands two, so one is going to be disappointed.   Since all are internationals, no one will expect to be the fall guy.

What this summer showed is that it is impossible to outguess what Mr Wenger will do, but that quite often, what he does do, works quite well.

Arsenal’s current injury list…

  • Theo Walcott
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • Lukas Podolski,
  • Mathieu Flamini
  • Gedion Zelalem
  • Abou Diaby
  • Emmanuel Fimpong
  • Yaya Sanogo

Also currently off stage…

  • Ryo
  • Serge Gnabry
  • Joel Campbell (on loan)
  • Francis Coquelin (on loan)

Recent posts are listed on the right

The books…

The sites from the same team…

48 comments to Why Arsenal don’t need to buy anyone at all

  • WalterBroeckx

    I almost feared you were forgetting super Nick 😉

    When he plays the “Giroud-role” for Denmark he seems to be rather good at it. And maybe if he would continue like he did in the games he came in I don’t think we need to fear too much. I would have wished him to score last Saturday and he almost did if it wouldn’t have been for a super save from Ruddy.
    But the way he is linking up play when he came on was not bad at all.

    So I do think with Giroud – Bendtner – Sanogo we have 3 CF who can do a similar job. Or at least 2 with one unknown.
    And like you said with Podolski and Theo we still have two players that wouldn’t mind playing there.

  • If the truly wonderful Ozil had combined with Jack in the way that Giroud did for the first goal, and if it had been Ozil who supplied the cross for Giroud to score the second goal (rather than the way it actually was)the press would have been purring even more. As it was, Giroud’s astonishing and inch perfect deliveries almost went unnoticed, because it is not yet fashionable to talk about him as if he is one of the world’s top strikers. But he is, and I can’t think of anyone I would rather see play in his place.

  • I very much agree with this article, and with Walter’s post. Due to the fluid, transformative way that Arsenal play, the distinction between striker amd midfielder shifts. After the close of the transfer window, there was some criticism of Wenger for buying Özil rather than a striker, which I thought was misplaced given the way we play. And so it’s proved.

    It’s worked out very well, and we do have players who can be centre-forwards. Bendtner I thought did quite well when he came on as a sub, and his game may well be upped by the excellence of those around him.

  • Shard

    There might be a few squad changes in the next year with Fabianski, Sagna, Vermaelen, Diaby, Rosicky and Bendtner’s futures at the club either unlikely or up in the air. And that might affect our need to buy.

    However, at this stage, I can only think of a possibility to strengthen in maybe 2 positions.

    1. A Diaby replacement at CM (because it seems that he’ll never really recover) I know we’re well stocked with midfielders but this is one area where we could strengthen. This might not be a bad area to make a signing if Rosicky and Diaby are on their way out anyway, and because Arteta is getting on in age as well(he is still an important player) Coquelin,Frimpong and Yennaris might want to stake a claim here but if Arteta is also expected to move on in the next 2 years, there is no reason they won’t get a chance anyway. So, a Bender/Pogba/Vidal type signing here.

    2. A pacy, tricky, striker/winger. Suarez would be perfect in terms of his versatility (although he tends to be a ball hog at Liverpool) But I still don’t want him. Just using him as an example of the sort of player I think who can help us strengthen.

    I do however, agree with you in that we don’t NEED anyone specifically. With the team playing well, and players still to come back, it is hard to justify players being replaced and pushed down the pecking order.

  • WalterBroeckx

    To be honest ever since that eventful night on 16 September 2009 I have a soft spot for Bendtner.
    I still remember when we played Standard Liège and were 2-0 down after 5 minutes it was his goal that gave us hope again. As the loud (and drunk) Danish Gooners sang that evening : super Nicklas Bendtner. 😉
    For those who have forgotten it we won 2-3 thanks to further goals from Vermaelen and Eduardo.

    I cannot imagine if we would have lost that game that day…losing against a team from Belgium?

  • Stuart

    Tony, your example using the defenders situation is perfect. If we had another striker, who would we leave out and risk losing to only be back to the same place again.

    Walter – when are you next likely to bump into the Vermaelen family? On Eurostar again perhaps;-)

  • lopez

    I believe in this team, they are all playing brilliant football but i feel that if Giroud gets injured we only have Bendtner on the bench to replace him. Podolski would be great playing as a centre forward as we all know but he gets played on the left wing most of the time, injuries are the only threat this year but i trust Wenger

  • WalterBroeckx

    Another reason? Chuba Akpom maybe?

  • jambug


    Expanding on your thoughts on Giroud. I too have been getting a little irked regarding this media reluctance to call him ‘World Class’.

    I can only think that part of it is that he sits between many stalls and because of this the media can’t ‘Pigeonhole’ him. (As well as the fact he plays for us of course)

    He’s not a ‘fox in the box’

    He’s not the classic No 9 a la Shearer.

    He’s not your tricky Suarez, messi type.

    He’s not a player with that blistering 5 yards.

    What is he then?

    Well he’s a bit of each. No thats wrong, he’s a LOT of each.

    I’ve seen him play the hold up role to perfection. (MOTM against Napoli)

    I’ve seen him leave his marker for dead over 5 yards. (Near post against Spurs)

    I’ve seen him employ the delicate touch of a messi. (Just this Saturday gone). I think even our Dennis would be proud of some of the touches he’s shown this season.

    To me I think I’ve seen over this last year the making of one of the most complete, alround forwards I have ever seen.

    Obviously he has a way to go to cement this rather grand claim. Only time, and goals, will ultimately prove if my impressions are right, but I truely believe he is well on the way to establishing himself as a truely exceptional player.

    The fact that Townsend only has to have a couple of decent games to be lorded as ‘The saviour of English football’ whilst Girouds consistantly brilliant performances are past over as, well nothing really, says more about our Medias obsession with all things Spurs, and dislike of all things Arsenal, than about how good Giriud actually is.


  • Rang

    One thing about Bendtner is despite his ups and downs he tends to possess a match wining ability especially in European matches.

  • Gf60

    Slightly off topic but my 14 year old grandson (!!!) tells me that the Jack goal from Sat is now featured on porn sites. “Better than an orgasm.” (Obviously his father…The Spammer’s… fault!)

  • nicky

    Those who follow our great Club, yet are unable to watch the games in situ, miss so much of the talent on display this season.
    For instance, the assists and fine cohesion being expressed by Giroud, game after game, is rather lost unless you are present. It is so easy to regard the guy purely as an out and out striker when in fact his contribution to the team is far greater than that.

  • mr arsenal

    i want to talk about Giroud
    Lett me tell you some thing giroud
    truly you did fantastic and you made me to forget van perce ……but we neet goals scorer bro
    just make more training for your finishin
    you improved a lot that side
    but you have to do more

  • colario

    Giroud has already scored some great goals for Arsenal and I am sure there are more great goals to come.

    However I have a gut feeling that he will always be remembered for his superb interaction with with Cazorla and Wilshire in ‘That goal’.

    In contrast Wilshire the wonder midfielder will always be remembered for scoring ‘That goal’.

    Cazorola to will also be remembered for his part in ‘That goal’.

    Everyone who saw it, Arsenal fan or neutral will remember ‘That goal. Wow!

    Then we say in unison, ‘What about Arron’s wonder goal?

    It was a reminder of the night at Inter Milan when Henry waltzed round four defenders to score a great goal.

    PMGOL Probert did his best – his best, but he just wasn’t good enough. So be kind to him!

  • TommieGun

    I would humbly like to present a different opinion.

    Imagine our season before the wizard of Oz arrived. EVERYBODY was talking about the “need” to buy someone, preferably a striker, a center back, a goalie and a defensive midfielder. However, no one talked about a creative playmaker – because that seemed like the only department where we had enough – even more than enough.

    Well we all know how things turned out – Wenger bought Ozil (thanks Mr. Perez and Mr. Levy! haha) and it was a masterstroke. So what is my point ? My point is that we did not NEED Ozil. But god am I happy that we bought him, and even at 42 million its seems like the best bargain in town. So yes, we might not NEED a new world class striker, but I’ll be very, very happy if we sign one. I can’t remember a time when we had 2 world class strikers, and suffered because of it. Plus, people tend to forget that even great players don’t mind playing as subs, from time to time, when featuring in a great team – which is what Arsenal are. So I agree to the mere words – we don’t NEED a striker; we don’t NEED any sigining – but I’ll be very happy if we did sign an additional proven high quality striker.

    Just think of Ozil.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oh and in case Giroud gets injured and Super Nick says no…..then put Ramsey in there.

  • Menace

    If Giroud needs to be replaced there is a better holding and finishing player in the squad. He is a fantastic goal scorer and can defend from the front. Thomas Vermaelen!!

    Thomas has all the attributes needed but has been pigeon-holed as a defender/center half. His qualities have not been exploited to the full.

  • Stuart

    further to your comment. The signing of a world class striker wouldn’t particularly create more chances to score, it would only enable us to capitalise on what was already there. With our midfiled of fairly prolific goal scorers, perhaps the need for a striker was only a masquesrade when infact, creating more chances for 3 or 4 of our players to capitalise on is all that was needed. Turns out we could have between 4 and 6, 15+ goal scorers this season with maybe two of those being 20+ and Özil being the main creator. 90 to 100 goals in a season is champions form.

    The benefit of having all these goal scorers is that if one is injured, we have other goal scorers to absorb the responsibility. If we lose our sole goal scorer, it’s brown pants time.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Arsene laid out the future policy for players coming into the first team very clearly at the AGM, you can still get his exact words on the official .com website. However my summary of his words was :-

    1 We will bring on players through our development programme and this is where we should first look for new arrivals. Take the opportunity of going to see them in action. Quoting from the official membership e-mail “Gunners supporters can enjoy FREE entry to Academy matches at Meadow Park in both the Barclays Under-21 Premier League and the UEFA Youth League. Next up for Steve Gatting’s side is a home European fixture with Borussia Dortmund, on Wednesday, 23 October, kick-off 7pm.”

    2 We will look to bring in (relatively) unknown players but who have the potential to develop into top players through our scouting network. Players like Kaocielny and Giroud.

    3 We will buy established top players for whom you don’t need scouts just money as and when they are available and we can fit them into our team. Ozils don’t come by every transfer window.

  • bob

    When Giroud gets injured or needs a rest or runs down from too many competitions AND we need to play against the top defenses, then we’ll see whether the don’t need a class striker will cost us a championship or not. No one knows, but you give the lawyer’s brief why not to spend (and it needn’t be 25M of your money); whereas there’s a case to be made for another clinical striker beyond waving a magic wand upon Nick and wishfully thinking he comes up Super Nick. (He may yet have that in him and AW will know if/when it’s there.) Right now, we are glimpsing a championship’s potential finish line, and it’s all about Walcott, Podolksi, Bendtner and Gnabry, all there, just in waiting, ready to slot in there for the top matches to come and lo, it’ll be just fine. It’s well and good to invoke name after name, but the actual chemistry of these men at striker within our newest team is not yet tried. And we haven’t played one at the very top yet; and, when we get to multiple championship levels, there will be a succession of games against those at the very top. And what if Giroud goes down to injury at that point? Right now we don’t NEED the other striker. But then? Then is not now. Other top top teams do seem to manage to “cope” with carrying more than one top striker. Is there a religious/ideological reason not to go for that when it could (as nothing in life is guaranteed, but could) actually put us over this very season? Is that not an affordable and pragmatic gamble? You want to gamble on facing multiple top-top championship scenarios with Walcott, Podolski, Bendtner and Gnabry as striker. I argue we go for a proven available scorer at striker. No need to go to civil war on this; but we shall soon enough see which choice is the reckless one. Either way, up the Arsenal, heart and soul.

  • Tom

    Tony makes many good points in his article but the central defender example is where I disagree .
    The central defender pairing is the most important formation on the pitch and when you strike the right balance you don’t want to tinker with it too much.

    At the moment Koscielny/ Mertesacker duo is working out perfectly and in the absence of injuries to either player there’s no need to change it too much.
    Because of the nature of the position , central defenders when fit can play for longer stretches of games without needing substituting .

    Whether one thinks Arsenal need another striker or not ,the fact is you can rotate midfield and attacking players more seamlessly than central defenders.

    Mr Wenger tried to bring in another striker over the summer but for various reasons it didn’t happen.
    I’m all in favor of giving people a second chance to fulfill their potential but in Bendtner’s case , I think he needs a brain operation before he can fulfill his ( another needless suspension for Denmark)

    Arsenal have money to spend and Mr Wenger still wants to win badly enough to make another move for a world class striker in January.

    Competition for places makes everybody better.

  • bob

    “Wenger still wants to win badly enough to make another move for a world class striker in January.”
    Agreed. He’s got the ambition and, it seems, the backing to realize it. He knows the taste and it looks sweet on his face in the press conferences. And he’s not ruled it out and doesn’t say we’ve got all we need. He keeps his options open – all 3, including Andrew Crawshaw’s point 3 above. And with that new striker (world class or on the cusp), we can go toe-to-toe with Barca and Bayern.

    That is achievable this very season. Why shrink from that vision? and, unless proven otherwise, it appears to be affordable. Plus two more years with AW and a championship squad to enjoy and celebrate. Does anyone think that any of the best strikers in the world won’t wish to play with the world class service that we can now (via Ozil and Santi) provide? Signing Ozil has been a game-changer. We’ve gone to an irresistible team to want to play for. And with that addition, we are on a par with Barca and Bayern, all imo of course.

  • Afif

    This is actually a great opportunity for Vermalaen to actually play. With the current form of Kosc and BFG, it would be very difficult for him to get a place as one of the two CBs. But I believe he can be a decent DM to temporarily replace Flamini. Being a steel, and a vocal captain, who else is better replacement for the flaming flamini than the Verminator himself

  • Shard


    I was among a fair number of people online who were emphasising the need for more creativity. Of course other needs were deemed more pressing but it was clear that Santi Cazorla could not carry the creative burden alone. He’d been overworked. The signing of Ozil was a surprise only because he is the best midfielder in the world and was playing for Real Madrid. It was not a surprise that we bought a creative midfielder. We did need Ozil. We needed a DM (Flamini), and a GK ( Viviano) and a striker. But no one counted on Bendtner being there, plus Sanogo is largely discounted, so in my view, we got everyone we needed. (Except maybe a CB, but Sagna’s done well there)

    However, as I said, I can see us strengthening, although it isn’t so easy to just buy a ‘world class’ striker, and then keep both him and Giroud happy. It depends on how Bendtner does, how Sanogo develops, how Gnabry develops, how Akpom develops, and which players don’t sign contract extensions, who is available etc.. We can assess our options before buying any player, since our need is now not urgent. This is a good thing.

  • Shard


    I think Bendtner’s booking (which led to his suspension) might have been planned, because he only missed the Malta game, which Denmark won easily (I think it was 5-0), and maybe they figured it was the best time to get a suspension out of the way. But that’s just a guess. In any case, he can do whatever stupidity he wants in a Denmark shirt, as long as he does what is needed for Arsenal. That’s all I care about.

  • chemistry of the team is crucial to being able to play well together and winning games.
    New signings takes time to gell especially when more than 3 comes in at a time *tot a case study*

  • colario

    Bendtner has this season to keep his mouth shut and let his feet do the talking and prove that he is an Arsene Wenger player.

    I am hoping he will do just that. He has scored some great goals for us and in view of that it would be great if he fulfilled the potential that Arsene first saw him.

  • Rufusstan

    The midfield is interesting because I would argue that Özil was exactly what we needed; just we didn’t know we needed him. The clamour last year was for a DM, because it felt we were vulnerable at the back, and so we got exactly what people were calling for, if in an unexpected (and pleasant) package.

    The thing is if you analyze last season, there were two Arsenals. The one where we attacked creatively, and were vulnerable at the back as above, and the one at the start and end of the season where we were solid and very hard to break down, but had lost a bit of the spark we needed to win well. We could do either, but lacked the personnel to do both at the same time.

    You can imagine us moving away from the stable defense version because it went against Arsene’s way of playing the game, then pure pragmatism brought it back at the end of the season.

    To fix things? The logical thing is to look at the creativity we had, and add some steel, hence Flamini. That seemed almost accidental though.

    The other solution seems to have been a typically Arsene one. The current squad had proven it could do the solid defensive bit, so why not just add the missing spark. So we end up with one of the most creative midfielders in the world.

    As a bonus, we did both.

    Not saying that was what happened, but its a nice thought.

  • you must have some swagger or a touch of arrogance to perform as a striker, a position that requires an enormous amount of self belief. a toned-down bendtner would be just at the normal level for a striker to be fairly successful. were he to improve his first touch, he could become a useful stand-in and may yet do a “ramsey”. if we do not buy a striker in january that may be a sure sign that bendtner has come of age.

  • Rufusstan

    As far as strikers go, I still believe we need another striker for the next 2-3 years, but on the understanding that we are talking about an as-well-as, rather than instead-of the HFB.

    Sanogo is a future investment, as is Akpom. Beyond Giroud right now we have 2 options: either move someone out of their normal position (Theo, Poldi), or the Last Samurai.

    I’ll admit that I lost faith long ago with Bendtner, starting from the day at Burnley in 2010 when he must have set a record for missed chances per minute, or as the guy sitting next to me on the day commented: ‘He doesn’t look like he could find his Arse with an Atlas’. That said, scoring a hat trick in his next game showed why has always been so frustrating, and if he comes through in the next few months I’d be delighted.

    I’m not sure where the idea that we don’t need another striker comes from. We have quality cover everywhere else these days, and its not like buying would say anything about Giroud. In fact another Giroud would be perfect right now. (We’ve just bought an Analytics company; I wonder how cheap a cloning research lab would set us back 🙂 ).

    For the last 2-3 years we have had one real striker, but it isn’t normal to be that way. All of our rivals have 2-3+ quality strikers (Even if Maureen loans out or refuses to play his better ones).

    It is worth mentioning that Bendtner was stuck as 3rd choice striker at best here, which in part led to him wanting to leave. As I said, he could be the solution, and could work within our current formation.

    If not, we either buy another striker who works within our system (the Giroud clone) or perhaps a different type of striker that increases our options.

    In a potentially 60+ game season, we need someone, and not a compromise option. As far as the bench is concerned, we need to get back to the idea that we are The Arsenal, players rotate in and out as the manager decides, and if you are not happy with that, we don’t need you. The current squad seems refreshingly ego free, and the right striker should be able to fit into that mindset without problems.

  • Mandy Dodd

    If nik can step up and cement a place as a valuable member of this squad, and put past misdemeanours behind him, I would be overjoyed, nik is a good player and could be good for this squad. Giroud is ahead of him now, but in not born any more talenrpted than nik. On what I have seen of nb I have been impressed with his attitude. Maybe he can do a flamini

  • Shakabula Gooner

    It is amazing how Arsenal’s ever evolving play book shame football pundits of the traditional hue season after season. Wenger has the knack of nullifying a “weakness” in his team’s set up (perceived from the traditional view of how teams are or should be set up) or even turning such perceived weaknesses into strengths – in a way that will please any jazz music lover wherein improvisations are a requirements and an integral part of the music genre’s “playbook” an not an after-thought.

    This season, it is happening again in the way Wenger is transforming the role of a striker in his team from the traditional view. Evidence of this is in what was recorded above about Wenger. He was recorded to have said, “Giroud is amazing because he develops well. if you compare his technical level when he arrived to how he is today, he has highly improved. Now he enjoys combining much more. From a player who was just thinking ‘I have to score’, he has become a real team player.” So, you have it: in Arsenal, a traditional striker’s main priority isn’t “I have to score” but combining well with other team members to maximize goal scoring opportunities and score the maximum goals possible for the team.

    How this is working out already is highlighted in Foreverheady @ 9:53am. Giroud could have been Ozil and Ozil could have been Giroud and soccerdom would have relished each excelling in his respective role but now that Arsenal has somehow engineered the reverse, praise for Giroud is lost in transit but NOT TO THE ARCHITECT of the swap, Mr. Wenger.

    In my view, the fluidity that Wenger wishes to see is such that all his strikers and attacking midfielders will be subjected to the same rating statistic: “no. of goals (or goal scoring opportunities) provided” + “no. of goals scored”. It will matter less to the team per se, who actually ends up scoring the goal; goal scoring will become a more generally shared burden.

    Indeed, if one tallies the parameter right now, Giroud, Ramsey and Ozil will stand out, as much for the goals scored as for the scoring opportunities provided. In my view, Wenger wishes to see a “striker” or a “provider” in the traditional manner by which the offensive players’ responsibilities are divided, but a “complete offensive player” as comfortable in providing as he is in finishing a very much a seamless part of a lethal attacking machine.

    To my mind, this is a scarier proposition to opposing teams’ defenders and coaches than players playing in the mold of traditional segmentations. For example in the Norwich match, the collective defensive work of the Norwich opposition and the tactic instructed by the coach were commendable and many pundits (e.g. Mr. Cross of the Mail) had commended them. Yet, Norwich was torn apart and 4 glorious goals were scored even as Mr. Cross admitted that it could have been 8 goals to Arsenal given the fluidity and clear goal scoring opportunities that Arsenal still managed to create! Why this was so, I think, came from the sheer diffusion of the players that the Norwich defense needed to focus on in the final third to their goal area.

    As to whether we need more players and where. I agree with Boo (whom we’ve not heard from in this string): let’s leave that to the coach. Clearly, we need more of the “total offensive” and “total defensive” (I call them polyvalent) players that he seems to love. Where he finds them, how he converts them, whether they are already among our young fringe players or 2 or 3 of them can be brought in in January or later; whether any of the potential incoming is among those already rated by the press is “world class” or not, it is all up to Mr. Wenger and who he has identified that he needs to enact the jazzy football in his head on the playing field. So when and where he sees such players and how he brings them in is 100% up to him. AKB. Mine is to sit to enjoy the games enacted and to cheer us to years of trophy laden success, based on superior football tactics and organization.

  • FunGunner

    I think AW feels his squad is pretty much complete – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, if you like. Numerically speaking we have enough strikers so a £20m striker (by which I assume Tony means someone like Michu) will not be coming unless some very extreme circumstances arise – eg Podolski and Bendtner suffer serious injuries and Sanogo doesn’t fulfil his promise. However if a striker that AW thinks of as “top, top quality”, someone *better* than Giroud does become available in January and we can afford him, AW would be in there like a shot, regardless.

    @ Mandy Dodd
    Totally agree about Bendtner. If he had a lesson to learn, he seems to have learned it. Regarding innate ability, I’d go further and say that Bendtner at 18 probably had *more* talent than OG at the same age, but OG is where he now is because of his willingness to work. Bendtner should look at Giroud and think, “that could have been me, and could still be me.”

  • Tasos

    With so much midfield talent available at Arsenal I could see us playing without a centre forward at some stage this season.

    Bayern Munich have successfully used this formation recently, ripping Man City apart at The Eastlands in their Champions League fixture.

    West Ham’s victory at WHL another example of the benefits for using this system.

    Mourinho has also used a more rigid formation of this system when Chelsea drew 0-0 at Old Trafford.

  • unbelievable belief

    Wenger does exactly what the AAA tells him to do these days.
    Its their new paradigm.

    it’s brilliant. it closes ever logic hole.
    They were right all along.

  • unbelievable belief


  • unbelievable belief

    Tony is right.
    Will we need another striker in January? If players are fit – not really.
    Who is available that is not cup-tied?
    Which Club would offer a player to a major rival for success in the EPL and Europe? Not Liverpool, City, Manure or Chelski that’s for sure.

    There will be a big selling shop of players at the World Cup, let’s keep the powder dry unless we get an offer we can’t refuse – Lewandowski?? Martinez?

  • bjtgooner

    If we consider the careful stepwise progression that AW has followed in putting this team together then it becomes fairly clear that AW will have carefully planned his future target(s).

    At present we are in a good position in that we seem not to be compelled to purchase anyone in January, especially if Bendtner steps up , but as if a suitable target becomes available AW may well be tempted.

    I can see some changes next summer, but lets hope we can repeat this summer, i.e. keep the ever improving core of the team together and add a little additional quality.

  • bob

    “If not, we either buy another striker who works within our system (the Giroud clone) or perhaps a different type of striker that increases our options. In a potentially 60+ game season, we need someone, and not a compromise option.”
    Agreed. Seems like a no-brainer, right? That flesh and blood wear down in the course of so much football that matters, no?
    Well, I do wonder whether the habit of not having to play so many games (as per last season) has led several commentaries here today to opine that we’ve really got enough bodies at striker in the pipeline – with current not-top level quantity methinks, trumping potentially near top-level quality.

    We shall see in a few months, as fortunately there is time to gain a better reading on our prospects on the cusp of January, And, then, if we’re near or at the top on several fronts, then perhaps the actuality of tasting (hopefully) from multiple cups might quicken the pulses and loosen the purse strings of club and/or some tighter-fisted fans. Seems that only being near or in that top position would a well-targeted mid-sized to big splash (if needed) that could put us over the top(s) be more concretely enticing than burdensome, even to those who currently are defending other values.

    So let’s see around 1 January what tunes we are all willing to sing; based, to be sure, on how close we are to winning whatever cups are about; and, of course, to be cognizant of the physical toll that the multiple campaigns will have taken by then, and the extent that quality in rotation (even at striker!) is more a practical necessity than a seeming luxury.

  • Nelson Wong

    I am more curious that should Giroud went down now, would something like 4-6-0 work…

    Flamini, Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere and we still have Roisky as reserve.

    [Missing: Giroud, Poldi, Walcott, Ox]
    [Young potentials: Serge Gnabry, Zalelam, Ryo]

    [btw, this is still a relatively young team. Roisky and Arteta will fade out but they can serve as reserves. They can keep this team for several years to come.]

    They certainly have the talent and ability to score. Would they lack a focal point (Giroud serves as the man but instead of only scoring, he also make assists)?

  • arse_or_brain

    remember when kevin keegan’s newcastle were top of the league and coating the team were flowing scoring goals with ease in perfect harmony. The they brought the wonder columbian Asprilla the finishing touch that was supposed to make the title a sure thing. well we all know what happened newcastle collapsed the balance broken and the dreams of champagne for the geordies smashed. it is so easy to buy one to many players world class or otherwise a team is a team and if is difficult to tune and easy to knock out of kilter, so while we can all say i think we need this or that the truth is its almost impossible to predict

  • Shakabula Gooner wrote:

    “As to whether we need more players and where. I agree with Boo (whom we’ve not heard from in this string): let’s leave that to the coach. Clearly, we need more of the “total offensive” and “total defensive” (I call them polyvalent) players that he seems to love. Where he finds them, how he converts them, whether they are already among our young fringe players or 2 or 3 of them can be brought in in January or later; whether any of the potential incoming is among those already rated by the press is “world class” or not, it is all up to Mr. Wenger and who he has identified that he needs to enact the jazzy football in his head on the playing field. So when and where he sees such players and how he brings them in is 100% up to him. AKB. Mine is to sit to enjoy the games enacted and to cheer us to years of trophy laden success, based on superior football tactics and organization.”

    Brother, I have returned to work after a long holiday that turned me to Untold’s resident ranter. I can only post a few lines nowadays but I still read most articles and the posts of my favourite commenters.

    Having said that, I am glad that someone notices and shares my philosophy as an Arsenal supporter. I have only one role: to support the team. To pretend that I can do anything else is to be making a fool of myself. Trophy or no trophy, Arsenal remain the best managed club in England. I am not going to pretend to be smart by half by advising the same outstanding management on how to run the club. I just happen to trust Arsene very much. Much more than my own understanding of the issues involved in managing a football team anyway.

    Maybe we need a world class goalkeeper, 2-3 world class defenders, a couple of world class DMs, 3 world class strikers, half a dozen world class ball boys etc, I really don’t know and I don’t care. I am leaving the running of Arsenal FC to Arsene Wenger. He is a damned fine manager and a great human being.

    It will be very nice if we can all just give this ‘”buy this, buy that” stuff a rest already.

  • Gooner S

    I can see your point as aways supportive of the club and the current playing staff but if a top quality player becomes available, say Robert Lewandowski, and we can do the deal it should and would be done.

    It’s better to have a problem of who to leave out than not.

  • Nelson Wong

    Gooner S

    I think most would agree especially someone might suddenly decide to leave although that is far less likely with such promising teamates.

    Then Roisky, Arteta and Sagna aren’t exactly young. If someone can replace them and is <27 of age, the team should get him.

    I think the DM position is in need of reinforcement more than attack since there are plenty of attacking options. Flamini is very good but he's only one man. Arteta can serve as reserve but as mentioned he is a bit old and the team needs to plan two years ahead. Arteta also lacks the "fear factor". Ramsy can take the position if needed but everyone would prefer having him higher up.

    It is hard to find a DM for Arsenal because you do not only want just a big guy who can break up play and run reasonably fast. You need someone who can pass, launch the attack and join if needed. He has to be very good at making strategic decisions which is why Arteta and Flamini did very well and that sort of DM aren't that easy to find.

  • Rupert Cook

    I think it’s plainly obvious after tonight that we need another world class player, probably a striker, but a pacey winger would be good who can deliver a decent cross.

  • Gunz

    @Rupert Cook
    Yawn! Boring sad AAA

  • Rupert Cook

    @ Gunz,No idea what you’re talking about. What is this AAA nonsense? Think for yourself and stop believing the drivel you’re programmed to believe.