How to get the best out of Giroud? An in-depth analysis

Olivier-Giroud_GI_2371727b

During the summer, Arsenal lost their best player, captain, top scorer and talisman to one of their fiercest rivals. Naturally this sent the fans into a frantic panic as for the umpteenth time a leader had jumped ship. Arsene Wenger uncharacteristically delved into the market and secured the signing of the French league’s top scorer, Olivier Giroud. This was met with mixed reactions because on one hand he had finished the season as the league’s top scorer and that is encouraging. On the other hand, this was his break-out season and his quality hadn’t yet been tested on a consistent basis. Players such as Andre-Pierre Gignac, who had one fantastic season and then faded away, came to mind.

He started the season on a frustrating note, missing sitters that ultimately cost us vital points, most memorably against Stoke and Sunderland. The fans were encouraged, however, because of his other contributions on the field. His tireless work rate and his intelligent movement did enough to convince everybody that his goal drought was just a temporary affair, as he was still adapting/in a transitional period.

Sure enough, the goals came. All through the season, Ollie has proved that he is more than capable of scoring goals. The main concern though is that he is too inconsistent to be relied upon. He will go a few games without scoring, and just when Arsene decides to drop him from the starting 11, he makes a mind blowing substitute appearance and obliterates our opponents (refer to his performance against Newcastle).

On one occasion, I argued that he goes missing in big games but his goals against Tottenham, Liverpool and most recently, Bayern put a dent in my argument. So what is Ollie’s real deal? Many Gooners I have interacted with, have this question lingering in their minds. I will have a go at trying to explain the enigma that is Olivier Giroud.

First of all, I would like to carefully examine his strengths and weaknesses. Giroud is a fairly simple character to analyze so this should be a pretty straight forward analysis.

His most profound strength is his height and aerial ability. Few players have the heading ability that Giroud possesses. His ability to control headers, even when the cross put forward is poor, is a marvel. His headed goal against Reading in that famous 7-5 win in the league cup being my best example.

Another feather in Giroud’s cap is his intelligent movement in and around the box. Many of his goals can be credited to his incredible movement and ability to lose his marker. Another strength is his physical strength, which can be credited to his size. This contributes greatly to his hold up play. Giroud has quite the shot on him, and his shooting technique is also impressive. Rarely does he mis-hit a shot when he has a clear sight at goal, whether in or outside the box. Finally, there is Giroud’s ability to pick a deadly pass, even with his back to goal: his assist for Lukas Podolski against Montpellier as ample evidence.

That said, his weaknesses are also rather conspicuous. His lack of pace on the ball being the most detrimental to his game. I cannot even begin to count how many times he loses possession in a match. He is also guilty of making poor passes which is a very frustrating trait. He often attempts complicated flicks that never end well. Finally, another frustrating trait he has, is his reluctance to fight for possession even when he is the one who lost it in the first place. How many times does he lose possession then casually stroll away like he did nothing? annoying to say the least.

Given what we know now, why is Ollie so inconsistent?

The answer to this, in my opinion is quite simple. Arsene does not set up the team to play to his strengths, and even Giroud himself tries to play the sort of football that muzzles his strong points.

Let me start with the team as a whole. Arsenal play an intricate, technical passing game which is all well and good, but as a whole our team are very poor crossers of the ball. So poor in fact that I tend to believe that when our players cross, they don’t have a player they are aiming at; rather, they punt the ball and hope for the best. Even the best crossers in our team are average, or maybe just a little above average at best. What’s even worse is that our poorest crossers (Sagna, Ramsey and Gibbs) are the two who most frequently end up in crossing positions.

You would imagine that given how good Ollie is in the air, Arsene would ensure that everyone is well trained in the art of crossing. Take a quick glance at Bayern: they acquired Mandzukic whose dominant quality is his aerial ability. Immediately, Jupp Heynckes ensured that everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY in that Bayern 11, can deliver a proper cross. As a result, he is currently the 3rd highest scorer in the Bundesliga.

Another failure on Arsene’s part is that he sets up the team in a way that he expects Giroud to play a big part in their build up play, often forcing him to come and collect the ball from deep, and getting him involved in intricate passing. Giroud is no RVP, and just because this worked with him doesn’t mean it will work with Giroud, and so far it hasn’t. It takes someone of RVP’s skill on the ball and mobility to pull off this kind of game, and quite frankly, Ollie isn’t that person.

Ollie’s game is most similar to Dzeko of Mancity. Mancini has set up the team in such a way that all he asks from Dzeko is to get in the box, fight for the ball and score. He has been reaping maximum dividends as a result. Another prime example is Drogba. When he first arrived at Chelsea, Mourinho noticed that his only attributes were his brute strength, ball control, pace and shot. He quickly rearranged the team, playing him as a lone striker and shifted tactics to suit his game. The rest is history.

I also said that Ollie is partly to blame. He is blessed with his fair share of strength and not only does he not use it to bully defenders, he lets players much weaker than him outmuscle him. He lacks the kind of aggression that made Drogba a nightmare to play against. Even when he is on the ball, he will opt to try and dribble or pass his way into space, rather than use his power to shield the ball from his opponents. Something he is not very good at, and as a result, defenders are able to keep him out of the game.

Arsene may believe that he has it in him to eventually play the Arsenal way. That may be so, but the only way he will get this out of him is by building his confidence. The best way to do this is to make him comfortable in the team, by setting them up in a manner that allows him to score goals. Then slowly, the rest will follow. Even for the sake of the team’s efficiency, it would help if Wenger played to his strengths.

What say you fellow gooners?

Written by: Marcus.

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131 Responses to How to get the best out of Giroud? An in-depth analysis

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Thanks for a fine post for discussion.

    I agree with all your points re his strengths and weaknesses. I also noticed France played 4-4-2 yesterday with both Giroud and many Gooners’ favourite future signing, Benzema, up-front. I reckon this formation would suit him best at Arsenal, as I don’t think he is strong/good enough to be our main man in the box (just like you are saying).

    I must say, his weaknesses are out-weighing his strengths at the moment. But he just joined us and gives his all for us, and so I will keep supporting him, at least till the end of the season.

    If we were to play Ox next, or behind him, we could see Ollie improve significantly, I reckon. On the other hand, the relationship between Ollie and Theo needs further improving, and once this would start clicking properly, Giroud could become more effective.

    But what will happen next season? Will Arsene get a more prolific, typical central striker and make Ollie our super-sub?

  2. Danny says:

    Nice post, Olivier seems to be a real controversial topic among the fans. From what i’ve seen, it is a love or hate kinda deal. He may not be used to this kind of role at Arsenal or one could even say he is playing “out of position”, but when it comes down to it a CF is a forward– you’re expected to produce. And in all reality, he has.

    In my opinion, I think the guy is doing surprisingly well for his first season in the prem. Despite his obvious inconsistencies, which im glad you noted, I think OG will come good for us– perhaps as early as next season, provided we make the right moves in the summer window. Which brings me to my next point… Stevan jovetic. Imagine having him play right behind the big man in a 4-4-1-1 or even the traditional 4-3-3 with Jovetic playing in a more advanced CAM role. I think this would be a dangerous combination that would really maximize the talent of our front line. The best part: it sounds like a fairly realistic possibility as news linking Jovetic and AFC continues to heat up.

    Back to the point, Giroud will come good. It’s safe to say that a lot of the negativity towards him is coming from supporters who are too sore about the departure of van jude. So all we can do as fans to help the situation is support and keep supporting.

  3. I would love to see Wenger plays a 4-4-2. with Podolski and Giroud upfront. I think both of them have a very good chemistry which would contribute to forming a very deadly duo.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Danny,

    Good to see somebody believing in Giroud, and you are definitely not the only one. Jovetic is often mentioned here on BK as a player who could transform this team. In fact, the writer of today’s blog, Marcus, wrote a post in the past about him (see ‘Marcus Posts’ above).

    My heart tells me to remain patient with Giroud but my brain tells me his hold-up play is quite poor, he is not fast enough and he lacks composure. One and three can still improve and I really hope it will.

  5. marcus says:

    TA,
    One thing I forgot to factor in was Arsene’s very poor rotational tactics. His idea of rotation is playing someone until they are either burnt out or injured and leaving out some very vital players on the bench. Look at Sagna, Jack, Santi and Theo. These 4 players have been played almost every single game this season and as a result currently 3 out of the 4 are out injured. Even Vermaelen with his poor form has been a mainstay in the side. This has been at the expense of people like Rosicky, Koscielny, the Ox and probably coquelin who if given a chance will do a job for us. This is so with Giroud too. I feel a reason for his dipping form has been fatigue. Note that the EPL is very intense and it takes a lot of work and time to adapt. This process can take a lot out of someone especially one who is new.

  6. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Marcus, thank you for another fine post on BK. There is certainly a lot to agree with in your analysis (his strengths you noted and that he’s awful when asked to dropped further back and join the link-up play), but a lot I disagree with as well (mainly additions to weaknesses :) ).

    1) Giroud is awful when he plays with his back to goal. He creates nothing and has 0 awareness of who is around him and often just gets stripped of the ball or misplays it, as per one of your noted weaknesses to his game.

    2) His decision making is remarkably poor. In addition to his passing that you mentioned, he’s such a frustrating player to watch on the field. He runs around the pitch like a chicken with his head cut off trying to find the ball, and when he does receive it in a good place on the pitch, he decides to take a completely misguided shot way over the net (sometimes from 40 yards away).

    3) Giroud’s ability on the ball is nowhere close to Dzeko. Dzeko’s ball control and dribbling are much better and he’s also a faster player as well. Dzeko’s more clinical in front of goal and his late, timely goals have won City many games.

    4) Giroud’s misses against Chelsea twice this year (once late in a game to equalize and in the more recent game against them, early to give us the lead) and miss against Liverpool in the third game of the year are also other notable misses that immediately stand out in my mind. Of course, there have been several more missed opportunities and I believe he is often the reason we have fallen behind early in games, when we should have been playing more comfortably with a 1-0 lead.

    However, this isn’t to say that Giroud’s an awful striker or that he won’t come good for us. He has many strengths that I admire: his aerial ability, flick ons, occasional over the top passes, intelligent movement and work rate. I just think that given our current set-up and ask for a striker, he will never succeed at Arsenal. I agree with you that he’s too slow, too indecisive and lacks the quality on the ball to be a good fit in our system. Bringing in more players up front to play with him and compensate for his weaknesses will undoubtedly lead to other areas of the pitch becoming weaker (unless we’re bringing in a class talent like Benzema or Jovetic who also contributes further back the pitch and has the pace to easily join the attack).

    Thus, I believe Giroud would be a much better super sub, coming on late in games to give our squad a different approach (just like Dzeko at City). Evident against Newcastle this year, Giroud is a player who thrives when there is considerably less pressure and he can come into a game relatively unnoticed. He found success at Montpellier when he was more invisible and further up the pitch, while playing off the shoulder of the last defender and poaching goals. Belhanda would demand most of the attention from defenders and draw them away due to his pace and ability on the ball.

    As you can see, in no way am I recommending to give up on Giroud, but that his role on this team needs to be re-examined. His inconsistencies this year have been as much his own issue, as it has been AW’s reluctance to set our team up properly to take advantage of his strengths. Whether it comes down to a lack of personnel or AW’s stubbornness to shift tactics, something eventually has to give.

  7. marcus says:

    TA,
    Have some faith. I like the rest strongly believe that Giroud has it in him to succeed for us. It all depends on how he is handled. Another really frustrating thing is why hasn’t Poldi received his chance up front? And by chance I don’t mean one game here and there..We play in 4 cups every season and If Wenger gave every striker we have an equal chance, we’d know by now who our top man is.

  8. marcus says:

    HH,
    Let me remind you that Dzeko had a worse start to his city career than Ollie is having for us. Like I told TA, you have to consider that this is his first season in the EPL and UCL and not everybody adapts like Cazorla or Aguero. Even Suarez who now is arguably the best in the league didn’t start out that way. It takes a lot of adjusting and given the circumstances, he has done well. He had set himself a 12 goal benchmark and has already surpassed that..All i’m saying is that Wenger could be less rigid in his plans and tweak them just a bit to get the best out of him..

  9. Rohan says:

    I’m very reluctant to judge a striker on his first season. Esp. from the french leagues.
    I think giroud is a very intelligent player, and quite frankly deserves a longer to show himself to be a top class striker. In his debut season in england he has looked good, not amazing but good. Given the precedence of a lot of foreign players performing better in their second seasons, it is not unreasonable to expect Giroud will show a greater ability next season.

  10. weedonald says:

    Giroud is still adapting to the style and pace in the EPL, as well as AFC’s approach to the game. Ligue 1 was a much less defensive and tough-tackling division and the opportunities to score and competition were much more open. He has 14 goals in 34 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions, with 102 shots on goal,giving him a conversion rate of 1 goal for every 7 shots more or less. He also has 13 assists in the EPL alone. His most obvious weakness is getting caught offside too often, but when compared with Torres, Suarez, Rooney and Bale, he is right up there. Wenger has tried many combinations this season and is still tweaking the setup but having 4 new faces in the team and too many injuries to regulars, it is unfair to say that Giroud is not right for Arsenal or vice-versa. Only time will tell….but so far he has done as well as can be expected and with 9 games left in the run-in, he might very well add another 2-3 goals (or more) to his tally, thus giving us a pretty good return for the buck(or Euro).

  11. Highbury Harmony says:

    Marcus,

    I am SO tired of hearing people say that Giroud has scored 15 goals this year so he’s been a success. He scored 2 of those goals in the Capital One Cup (against Reading and Coventry City respectively) and two more in the FA Cup against Brighton!

    Has he been a failure? No. Has he been a success? No. Has been somewhere in between? I’d say so. Dzeko was brought into City halfway through the year in the January window without training camp or any familiarity to his new side or the English game. Giroud’s had that plus a whole season already. Cisse could be the exception to the point I made about Dzeko, but look how he’s performing this year. Dzeko’s first proper season in the PL? 14 goals in 16 starts, while struggling/competing for playing time behind a world-class striker in Aguero and other talented, yet enigmatic strikers in Tevez and Balotelli.

  12. marcus says:

    TA,
    By the way I’ve been meaning to tell you that the title you went with suggests that Arsenal and Giroud aren’t a match which wasn’t my point in this article..

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    By the way, Dzeko had basically the exact same start to his career in the PL as Giroud. When looking at the first 15 games of the PL in Giroud’s career, he had 4 goals and 1 assist, while Dzeko produced 2 goals and 2 assists (with the fact that Giroud had training camp and pre-season with the team in mind). Dzeko had also score 22 and 26 goals in the Bundesliga, while leading Wolfsburg (in a superior Bundesliga league to Ligue 1) to a title.

  14. Rohan says:

    Highbury Harmony, i’m going to have to disagree with you about his decision making, from what I see of him he actually is very positionally aware. Criticisms of his finishing and ball control this season are valid, but comparisons to Dzeko are a bit unfair given their respective price tags.

  15. Highbury Harmony says:

    Rohan, how many times has Giroud been stripped of the ball when being hesitant and playing with his back to goal? Why does he decide to try and beat a defender one on one when he clearly lacks pace and dribbling ability to beat them? Why does he take useless shots from a distance on goal during counter attacks? Why does he try and run with the ball on his feet in counter attacks only to be stripped? Why does he pass when he should shoot and shoot when he should pass?

    Those are the hallmarks of poor decision making. I’m saying his decision making THIS season has been remarkedly poor, not a knock on his overall ability.

  16. Rohan says:

    It’s a bit difficult to argue against those things without looking at specific situations.I do agree with you on some of those points though and my comment was more about your comment of “He runs around the pitch like a chicken with his head cut off trying to find the ball,” which in fairness, you did say later on he makes good runs. That said, in terms of his hesitance and his struggles with ball-retention. I would point to the fact that the system of 4-3-3 is neither narrow nor compact, and as a result he struggles. Many arsenal fans have been calling for the 4-4-2 which was essentially used against Newcastle and allowed him to prosper. His strength in our current system comes from his positional play and with a little work on his finishing I think he’ll start banging them in.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Re title, fair enough. You are saying Arsenal are not getting the best out of Giroud at the moment, and that this partly due to him being played in the wrong role currently, and that Giroud is partly to blame himself. For me that begs the questions whether Arsenal are right for him or whether he is right for Arsenal. It is just a stimulating title, and it is noted that you don’t feel it reflects what you were trying to say. Please accept my apologies. :)

  18. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    I think the title is spot on for how I view Giroud fitting into our team. However, I see where Marcus is coming from since his article is dealing more with how Giroud will come good.

    Rohan, I agree that he’s being misused in our current set-up and does not have the ability or skill to play in isolation. If we’re sticking with our current set-up, Podolski would be more effective than Giroud since he combines well with others and has the pace to catch up to the attack if he drops back. He’s also more deadly and decisive in front of goal, which is exactly what we need right now.

    We can’t play a 4-4-2 right now because that leaves us exposed at the back. The Theo-Giroud partnership has been useless and way too inconsistent lately. Both are trying too hard to find their games and we are struggling to score as a result. We would be better served experimenting with Ox playing behind Giroud since he has the strength, ball control and vision to play in the center of the pitch. Ox isn’t afraid to shoot when given the opportunity and could really develop into a quality CAM/SS. However, I would caution having hope for this experiment since we all know AW is way too stubborn and we’ll continue to see our CF being isolated and ineffective up front (if Giroud or Theo play there).

  19. Rohan says:

    Highbury Harmony, I’ve been wondering for a while why Podolski doesn’t get more game time considering that he’s looked the better striker this season. My theory is that Wenger prefers Giroud due to his work ethic, while there have been no reports of a poor Podolski work ethic, Giroud is actually renowned for his try-hard attitude. I still want more of prince Poldi on the pitch though, and would rather see a left winger signed this season over a striker – to allow Podolski reign in the middle.

    Also I agree that we shouldn’t change to a 4-4-2, I don’t think the team should be willing to sacrifice their system for a player, unless they are truly world class, but Giroud is no messi. You might be onto something on the Ox thing, who has previously stated that he sees his future role to be in the middle.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    My biggest disappointment with Giroud is not his lack of speed, or even his composure in front of goal – he almost missed that sitter against Bayern! – but his lack of ability in shielding the ball for a second or two, and subsequent redistribution of the ball.

    Chamakh worked hard too, was good in the air, and shielded the ball very well, but he was weak at shooting on goal and his passing was pretty average. I felt we would get a strong ball shielder in Giroud, who was also strong in the air and with his feet, but until now the former is clearly missing from his game and his composure is also not great, and as such you have to ask yourself whether he is a suitable striker for Arsenal, as in the big man leading the line for us. I doubt it, but hope he’ll come good.

  21. AFC says:

    Marcus, fine post.

    The thing about Giroud is that he is a poacher much like Man U’s Hernandez which means that his game is based all around being in the 25 yard box of the opposition where he can find those little pockets of space in and around the box and score goals. I would also compare him to Bent.

    The thing that would imporve Giroud would be playing him with someone like a Rooney behind him who can drop deep and pick up the ball deep in the oppostion’s halve allowing Giroud to only operate around the 25 yard area of the opposition’s halve, or buying a classic winger who can actually cross the ball e.g. Valencia. The problem is at Arsenal we will never buy a traditional winger (e.g. Giggs) as Wenger likes to play AMs on the wings I.e. Rosicky and Arshavin or goal poachers like Podolski or Walcott. Barca are like this as well because Arsenal and Barca both play TF.

    The thing about Giroud is that at the peak of his career I can never imagine him becoming a world class striker like Drogba (although he is the complete opposite of Drogba even though their physical builds’ are the same). I can only imagine him becoming a good striker at best.

    Also are Sagna and Gibbs not our best crosssers apart from Monreal?

  22. AFC says:

    Also can anyone tell me why we did not buy Sneijder, Drogba or Ballotelli in January?

  23. i think he has been great for us this season, games like stoke where he refused to be bullied and gave us a presence upfront. He reminds me of Smudger in so many ways, yeah he has missed a few chances but then which striker hasnt. For me he has adapted well to a new league, country and playing style.

  24. AFC says:

    Maybe Benzema could be the key to unlocking Giroud’s potential. They know each other’s games at international level and compliment each other when they play together for France. Next season Wenger could rotate between a 4-3-3 formation with Benzema as our main striker and a 4-4-2 with Giroud and Benzema playing together.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, who would you prefer Benzema or Jovetic?

  26. AFC says:

    I would say Benzema, he is playing at the top level and know Giroud’s game very well. Benzema seems a better fit for Arsenal.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, re Sneijder, Ballotelli and Drogba, I reckon they were on too high wages for us.

  28. AFC says:

    Also TA, what do you think about the earlier comments I made regarding Giroud and the questions I put out.

  29. AFC says:

    The thing is TA, is that Sneijder is getting paid around £120 000 a week, surely we could have persuaded him to come to us a much better club than Gala playing in the PL for wages closer to the £100 000 a week mark.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    You could be right, AFC. I reckon Podolski is a similar striker to Benzema, so I would prefer a ‘shadow’ striker who can create and score at the same time, and by the looks of it Jovetic is that sort of all-round striker/attacking midfielder.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I read Sneijder was on about £200k per week at Inter, and on a long contract. I don’t think he would have settled for anything less at Gala… or Arsenal.

  32. Danny says:

    Tough decision, TA. We’d be lucky to bag either. Either way, the summer window looks promising.

    AFC- are you really that confused why we didn’t buy 1) a past-his-prime central midfielder (hard to fit in with jack, santi, etc) who’s wage demands are certainly out of Arsenal’s range.. 2) most of the same can be said for Drogba, and quite frankly neither of them have looked too promising for gala.. and 3) not sure this one needs a response.. laughs

    despite all that, I still would’ve loved to pick up sneijdy

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, are you referring to your question re good ball crossers?

  34. karibo says:

    Giroud is a complete ‘no good’ player, dim fit for arsenal..he should play for bolton or millwall. He kills Arsenal games a lot..PDL would hv scored 20goals upfront.AW has lost his touch about d right tatics…just imaging benching PDL for Giroud..

  35. AFC says:

    TA, I remember him being on £200 000 a week at Inter and various news channels saying how he went to Gala for around 8.3 mill getting paid £120 000 a week because no club could afford his wages.

  36. AFC says:

    Yes, I am referring to my question about the crossers TA.

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    Rohan, my theory is that AW is too stubborn to switch tactics and wants to prove a point to the world that it doesn’t matter who he plays up front because our style of play will lead us to win games (or something along those lines).

    To be fair, when Podolski has played as the central striker, he’s been inefficient and near invisible, but he’s only been exposed there in two matches. Yes, Giroud has the better work ethic when deployed as the main striker, but I think it’s also a matter of versatility. The only way we can play our three leading goal scorers is to have Poldi on the left, since Giroud has 0 versatility. Also, part of me feels that AW does not want to make the same mistake as he did with Chamakh by giving Giroud as many opportunities as possible to hit good form (not working in our favour right now).

    It’s difficult for Ox to improve/show his true talent when he’s only playing as a sub or making a start every 5th match. However, I still remember the deadly final balls he’s capable of playing, his ability to take on defenders one on one and his underrated shooting, which is not utilized enough. Theo needs to take a seat because he is just not producing goals, assists or productive play on the wing right now. At least Giroud works hard to get himself in to positions; Theo simply drifts centrally and looks for the breakaway pass, ignoring his defensive responsibilities and wing play altogether.

  38. AFC says:

    Also regarding formations for next season I could see Wenger playing a 4-2-2-2. This is because Theo and Pod do not want to be wingers, Giroud needs a striking partner, Wenger loves to play to with 2 DMs and everyone wants Wenger to play with 2 in the hole.

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I also believe we have decent crossers of the ball – not great but decent. I think we should commit more players into the box, so it is not only Giroud who is there to meet the cross.

  40. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, my only hesitation to your formation suggestion is that we become too narrow in our set-up.

    The ideal formation for next year if we’re to stick with Giroud is a 4-1-3-1-1. However, ideally I would prefer we play a 4-1-2-3 with Giroud coming on as a super sub. Either of those formations is predicated with the assumption that we’ll be buying a proper DM with pace and a more mobile, skilled and clinical striker. Santi and Jack are natural fits for the 2 AM’s behind the front three, while Theo, Poldi, Ox and Gervinho can all rotate on the wings. Then, to close out games we’re winning, revert back to the 4-2-1-3 with Ramsey, Arteta, Coquelin or Diaby coming in alongside the DM.

  41. AFC says:

    HH, I think that the 4-3-3 formation what Wenger uses (not sure if he still does) is inbetween a 4-1-2-3 and a 4-2-1-3. He plays with 2 CMs (1 of which is box to box) and 1 AM. When defending we defend with 2 CMs (now playing as 2 DMs) and 1 AM and when we attack we attack with 2 AMs (as 1 CM joins the AM turning him into the other AM and one CM (which is now the DM), and when we are neither attacking or defending we play with 2 CMs and 1 AM.

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, which is why I suggest we permanently move to a 4-1-2-3, with the 2 AM’s always attacking but having the responsibility to defend as well (which should always be a collective responsibility). Having a proper DM will help shield the back four, while also helping to quicken the transition of the play from the back to the front.

    I think the b2b midfielder role is useless (or we don’t have the right personnel right now for that role) and really slows down our attack and creates the whole “neither attacking or defending” that we’ve seen for most of this season.

  43. AFC says:

    Also TA, al ot of people have told me that Benzema’s work rate is poor and he is the complete opposite of Tevez. When I asked one of my friend’s what he thought of Benzema’s all round work rate he told me “he does just enough to win the match and nothing more” which for me is quite worrying. What do you think?

  44. AFC says:

    HH, I agree. The only way I can see the box to box role being useful is if we had someone like Yaya Toure who can defend and attack equally as well and is equally as good as playing as a DM/CM/AM.

  45. weedonald says:

    What language are you trying to post in?

  46. AFC says:

    Are you talking about me? If you are give me an example of what you mean.

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I really think the B2B role is dying, unless you have a world-class player at that position, i.e. Yaya Toure, Schweinsteiger, Xabi Alonso etc. The role is extremely physically demanding and requires more mental concentration and composure than any other position. Teams have now been switching to having two true DMs, a deep-lying playmaker alongside a DM or two AM’s.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, Giroud can do the hard work and Benzema can have the much needed composure to convert the chances. ;)

    Like you, I rate working hard highly, but there is also need for quality finishing which Benzema would bring.

  49. Red Arse says:

    Another very good Post, Marcus — enjoyed it! :-)

    The comments from the other bloggers have been interesting too.

    For myself, I think there have been two things preventing OG from reaching the heights this season.

    The first is that he does not get as much service from the midfield and the wings as he needs and deserves.

    The second reason is rather different. He is exceptionally one footed, a bit like RvP until recently, and that means he is often unbalanced as he uses his left foot for practically everything to do with the ball, and his right just for standing on.

    If he has to control the ball with his right foot, or stand on his left foot, he tends to fall over.

    Seriously! Watch him in the next game, and it will become obvious, and it reduces his efficiency.

    Nite guys! :-)

  50. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, not to mention Benzema’s unbelievable instincts for the game and his sublime ball control/dribbling :). I am often left in awe when I watch him play!

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening Redders! :)

  52. AFC says:

    HH, I think that is why we have seen a decline in teams playing 4-4-2 as the job of defending and attacking for the two CMs is just too demanding leaving huge holes in this formation for oppsoing teams to exploit.

    When you want Arsenal to play 4-4-2 are you referring to the classic 4-4-2 or the 4-4-2 with 2 holding players?

  53. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha Redders, astute and hilarious observation on Giroud! I’ll be sure to look out for that next game :).

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Great observation Redders: will look out for it next time.

  55. Red Arse says:

    I wrote a message earlier, after the Marcus Post came out, so I am repeating it here.

    – “Hi TA, :-)

    Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed your Post.

    Writing quality articles is a bit like shelling peas for you, I think!! :-)

    Van Gaal is a brilliant manager!!

    Really off now.

  56. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I do not want us to play 4-4-2 ever or at all! If we are to play any variation of the 4-4-2 for the rest of this season, I would prefer us play 4-4-1-1 with Ox or Podolski playing behind Giroud.

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Well, who would you choose then, Benzema or Jovetic? :)

  58. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, who are you asking?

  59. AFC says:

    HH, the only variation of 4-4-2 I would want us to play would be the 4-4-2 with two holding players. But I think 4-4-2 is a thing of the past. 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 are the formations that are used in the present, although in the future I can see more teams playing with 3 defenders.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    I was asking you HH :)

  61. Rohan says:

    Shoot me if you want because this is a controversial statement but I do think Giroud’s finishing will improve. Reason being he seems to be half a second behind on most of the chances he misses – I don’t think he could be a terrible finisher and still be ligue 1 top goalscorer – there’s nothing to suggest that the quality of their keepers are any worse than over here, if you wanna talk about defending fair enough, but Giroud manages to get on the end of a lot of 1v1s

  62. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA :),

    My answer is it depends. Both have great pace and immense vision and quality. If AW wants to stick with Giroud up front, in the long-term we may be better served with Jovetic, despite Benzema’s familiarity with Giroud on the French National team. Jovetic’s work rate is better and he can do it all and is better at driving a team’s offence up field (similar to an AM). Jovetic simply plays the game with more passion, but his all-out approach often puts him at risk of picking up knocks and injuries.

    Benzema is more clinical and lets the game come to him, which he often gets unfairly criticized as being lazy. However, his work rate is not as high as Jovetic and he definitely responds better to a nurturing manager like AW who will put his full faith in a player. If we’re looking for a main striker, who will only occasionally play with Giroud, then Benzema is the answer as he can efficiently lead the line and has the natural instincts to create or score near the opposition’s goal.

  63. Milo says:

    I would take Jovetic over Benzema any day!!! He’s probably less expensive, has a better attitude, and is a bit more versatile. What’s more he has more of a physical presence than Benzema. IF we are going to buy a new striker, I wouldn’t mind to have either, BUT I’d try to sign Jovetic before Benzema. I think he’ll develop his finishing under Wenger, and he reminds me a lot of RVP regarding the way he plays, NOT his personality.

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    I would love us to play 4-4-2 again.

    Szcz
    Sagna/Jenk – Mert – Koz – Nacho/Gibbs
    Cazorla – Beast – Jack – Pod/Gibbs
    Theo/Giroud/Pod/Ox/Vila (pick two)

  65. AFC says:

    The thing is Rohan I do never see Giroud becoming a world class or top striker. I see him as always being a decent ST who is a sqaud rotational player and nothing more.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    You could well be right Rohan but at the moment he lacks composure, which could be a result of being too keen and working too hard, if that makes any sense!

    Rohan, btw your post will come out tomorrow. :)

  67. Rohan says:

    I sometimes feel with Ox that he needs a half season on loan at a team like swansea. Never gonna happen though as Wenger rates him too highly. I really like him as a person, but I do feel that he suffers from trying to do too much. Despite making good driving runs, he rarely produces anything significant from them i.e. a chance or a defensive opening – as a result a season at a team like swansea playing weak in weak out he will get a better understanding of when to simply pass the ball on and save his energy.

  68. AFC says:

    TA, when you want Arsenal to play 4-4-2 are you referring to the classic 4-4-2 or the 4-4-2 with 2 holding players?

  69. AFC says:

    Rohan the thing is, our squad is so thin. We need the Ox in the squad. If we had the size of squad of Man U we could tell guys like the Ox and Ramsey to go on short loans.

  70. Rohan says:

    *week in week out – just had a brain fart in terms of spelling

  71. Rohan says:

    AFC, yeah I totally understand why it’s happening, but in terms of the players personal development it would be the most beneficial thing. Also, loaning him out now would be like a vote of a lack of confidence – essentially flagging him as the next for the transfer list. If those obstacles could be overcome then great, not gonna happen though

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    A comprehensive answer, HH! :)

  73. AFC says:

    Rohan, maybe when Wenger brought the Ox he should have loaned him back to Southampton for the rest of the season like what happened to Zaha.

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    The classic one, AFC, but Jack can hold as well, if needed.

  75. Rohan says:

    TA, thanks. In terms of giroud’s composure, it’s hard to assess whether that is what’s affecting him, had we seen him banging them in at the start of the season and now he stopped it would be different. but we’ve had a fairly slow but steady stream of goals from him. I am very optimistic when it comes to arsenal players though and am very slow to write them off though – there’s still a part of me that thinks gervinho could come good.

  76. AFC says:

    TA, how about a wide diamond 4-4-2 with Jack as the AM behind the 2 STs with a beast of a DM holding.

  77. AFC says:

    Rohan, Gervinho has proved himself in the french league and at international level. I am starting to think that maybe he just cannot play in the Prem. He has the quality but its just not meant to be.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rohan, agreed. I am not writing him off either, but at the moment I am not too impressed with him. I went to the Norwich away and the Blackburn home game (FA cup), and came away being unimpressed with him. Composure and confidence are strongly related though and a good run of games can do wonders.

    I am also a fan of Gervinho and believe he is still our best winger.

  79. Rohan says:

    AFC, if you play that you regularly need to drop two out of Santi, Jack and Mikel.

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    That could work too AFC. I reckon Jack is naturally drawn forwards and will conduct play for us in any formation; and on top of that the boy can defend as well…. Super Jackie Wilshere.. :P

  81. Rohan says:

    TA, he’s one of those players that has moments of magic, but he largely disappoints me. He definitely has the ability, but lacks the mental fortitude – I think Drogba or one of the ivorians spoke about it – fortunately mental strength can come with age.

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Rohan,

    I reckon his problem is mainly communicating and cooperating with his fellow players. He holds onto the ball well, is almost always capable to get past his man and delivers into the box well. He stretches play really well and can create openings where others keep passing the ball around. That is what I value about him.

    His finishing can be poor and great at the same time: his goals against the Chavs and Swansea were both of fine quality. But then there are also plenty of examples of poor finishing, unfortunately. :?

    I am just happy to have him in the squad.

  83. AFC says:

    Rohan, santi could play out wide or you could play a tight diamond 4-4-2 with the beast of a DM holding, Jack as LCM, Mikel as RCM and Santi as CAM, switching to the wide diamond 4-4-2 so the Ox and Gervinho can come in when we need added width.

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus come back matey! :)

    I have changed the title so hopefully you feel more comfortable with this one!

  85. Rohan says:

    TA, when you watch him, he has the flair and does the difficult 90%, but is so frustrating to watch when he messes up – he’s another player that can try to do too much. I thought he was very impressive against bayern, and was very unlucky not to score.

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Rohan :)

    Once the other players start to read what he is going to do and position themselves better, he could become a lot more effective. He looks to me like somebody who is struggling to fit into the group, which, if true, would be a real shame.

  87. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo, it’s a misconception that Jovetic and RVP have similar playing styles. They both have great touch, ball control and good pace, but RVP is a twinkle-toer that is graceful on the pitch, while Jovetic is very direct and aggressive, reminiscent of a bull in a china store.

  88. Highbury Harmony says:

    Rohan @ 22:29, I disagree that Ox often does not create anything. I think this is due to his lack of playing time, since he’s unable to hit form and thus the confidence or instincts to make those plays in the final third. However, he was our most dangerous player against Swansea in the first half, hitting the bar twice. He’s also capable of playing those deadly final balls re: Chelsea to Giroud in the first half of the season and to RVP against Manure last year. Ox also scored a beauty against Le Toon this year!

    If given a good run of games, I believe the Ox will deliver as he has the heart, passion and aggression in his game that Theo sorely lacks or at least is inconsistent in (despite being more deadly).

  89. AFC says:

    HH, the Ox does hit the post and crossbar more than he actually scores.

  90. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, just a matter of inches mate ;). How of our current starters even create the opportunity to hit the post or bar? Lately, Theo and Giroud have either been invisible or without a decent shot on goal.

  91. Highbury Harmony says:

    How many of our*

  92. AFC says:

    Agree HH, and if Walcott and Giroud continue not to pull their weight we should play the likes of Gnabry, Eisfield and other young players. That’ll show em.

    Sometimes I think we should have kept Santos to play on the wings.

  93. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Santos was at the point where he could not do anything right for us, no matter where he played. It’s obvious that Wenger misused him and is one in the line of many examples of his stubbornness. His refusal to shift tactics/formation is a serious point of contention I hold with AW.

    The young players would have some serious desire and determination in their games and their energy levels would likely be infectious!

  94. Rohan says:

    HH, don’t be too harsh mate. Giroud scored against bayern, and Walcott created it. I agree with you that Ox doesn’t get the playing time to develop proper instincts. I really like the Ox and think he’s going to be great, but he’s not even at walcott’s level yet.

  95. AFC says:

    HH, Santos was a quality player and all Wenger had to do was admit that Santos was brazillian and therefore could not defend to save his live and turned him into a LW instead of hanging him out to dry at LB.

  96. Highbury Harmony says:

    Rohan, I would venture to say that Ox creates more opportunities within a game, but Theo is more efficient with the few opportunities he does create (if that makes sense). Theo’s goal scoring instincts are more developed and he’s better at finding space, but in terms of overall team play, Ox offers more (better ball control, defensive awareness, tackling, stronger shot though less accurate, better ability to take on defenders one on one etc.).

    I try not to be too harsh, but I am really disappointed in the lack of quality throughout this squad. It’s quite clear to me that we need serious upgrades at ST, DM and CB. AW needs to adequately address these positions this off-season or we’ll continue to toil in mediocrity.

  97. bc says:

    i still believe that arsenal have 2 decent teams in their 33 man 1st team squad. we have a very good team that can play 4231 wengers current preferred formation but we also have a very good team that can play 442. the unfortunate thing is that our bestx1 players are split between the 2 teams.

    wenger has tried to play our best x1 players szcesney sagna mertesacker vermaelen gibbs arteta wilshire cazorla walcott giroud podolski. but unfortunately it does not work in a 4231 formation and those x1 together would not work in any other formation either.

    we play a high line in that formation and we also play zonal marking. for me there is only one centre back that can cope with that and that is koscielny. the only rb that can cope with it is jenkinson whilst a more experienced keeper than szcesney is required. podolski is similar to arshavi in that he doesnt track back whilst giroud doesnt feed of cazorla like he should.

    there is similar problems with playing a 442 as again that formation would not suit cazorla and a few others.

    this is wengers dilemma play the best x1 in a formation that doesnt suit them or play a formation to suit the best x1 or play the best team to olay the opposition regardless of the formation.

    for me football is now a squad game and wenger should be taking the last option even if it means using a completely different team from one week to the next. he manages to make x1 changes for a carling cup match against reading and win so why not play a different x1 against them and the likes of them in a league match as well

  98. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, completely agreed. One of biggest issues with Wenger is his refusal to play players in their rightful position or to switch tactics/shift formations to allow them to succeed.

  99. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, also wanted to commend you on developing a fantastic following on BK!

    The regulars have always been (and continue to be) magnificent: Redders, Oz, Alex, Terry, VCC, PPP, Rocky, Henry, Gerry, Herb and even Glic ;)! Unfortunately, we’ve lost Richie along the way :(, hopefully he comes back soon.

    And now we have some excellent, intelligent Arsenal fans that have joined us in Rohan, Marcus, AFC, Admir, Nik etc. You guys are all excellent and I look forward to blogging with you lot every day :)!

  100. Rohan says:

    HH, I don’t think we’re going to agree on this, but just for my final say, Walcott is joint second on the assists chart, it’s unfair to say he doesn’t contribute as much to team play.

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes HH there are now some fine new bloggers on BK, and you have contributed to this tremendously with your quality posts in recent months. :)

    BC, fine, analytical comment! :)

    I have too much cab sauvignon in me to respond properly now, but thanks for your quality comment.

    Catch you tomorrow, guys. :)

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, re Richie. I have emailed him recently, but heard nothing back. He does this from time to time, as he has a house in Spain and also likes to disappear on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea. He leads a charmed life, you know. ;)

  103. Highbury Harmony says:

    Rohan, I’m not talking about statistics…I already acknowledged that Theo contributes well in the few chances he does get, he’s an efficient producer. However, he’s the absolute worst player in that he disappears for long stretches of the game, abandons his wing play in search for goals because he believes he’s deserving of the CF role (though he absolutely sucks when played there) and he contributes nothing on the defensive end of the pitch. His ball control when taking on defenders has improved but is still very shaky and he often has a heavy second touch that leads to turnovers.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Theo but he has to understand that he’s not a natural striker and lacks the strength to play in the center of the park. I would rather him stay out wide and provide his ever improving crosses into the middle and beat men wide with his pace. Drifting centrally should only occur every so often to catch defenders off guard; not a frequent occurrence for 80 minutes of a match!

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, cheers mate :). You’ve established a very fine blog and have attracted and deserved all the top quality bloggers with it! Nice to know that Richie will still be coming back and that he’s living such a charmed life hahaha.

  105. Rohan says:

    I see what you’re saying, and in terms of defensive play i would agree – oxlade is stronger, and better. The first touch matter is debatable. Also I would disagree when speaking in terms of overall play. Given that the winger’s role is primarily offensive I would say that Walcott offers a lot more, his runs through channels pose problems for defences far more than the Ox. Walcott isn’t really built for defensive play, and so while it is bad it is understandable that he is less involved defensively – that is not to say walcott is lazy as he is constantly making runs. Finally, given that the tireless Carl Jenkinson is performing so well defensively, and the more defensive 4-2-3-1 system being used Walcott’s ability to cross and his finishing is far more useful to us than Ox. Once again i’d like to reiterate that i’m a big fan of the ox but i think walcott is far more useful to us.

  106. davi says:

    I don’t think he’s particularly asked to drop deep to collect the ball, I think the problem has been more that he’s just so isolated up front and ends up having to drop deep just to make any sort of contribution. I agree that’s not his strength, but what else can he do than try? If he doesn’t he’s just waiting up front for Szczesny to boot the ball up to him (so he can flick it on to be collected by one of the swarm of defenders around him) or to see a cross go flying over his head. It was the same in many games last year for RVP except that he was often just so good that he could score off of 1 or 2 chances, or just score out of nothing – you can’t expect most strikers to be that good.
    On the crossing – I just can’t understand it. As a side we can go through several matches in a row without putting in even a half-decent cross and yet we expect Giroud to score goals? The craziest thing I’ve noticed is that the crossing seems to improve when Walcott is playing through the middle, but obviously he can’t really make the most of it. Sagna’s crossing was excellent in his first season but now he looks fairly inept…

    On the squad overall – we have very good players, certainly a competitive squad for champions league qualification, but we don’t often seem to set ourselves up well. I think there’s a lot to be said for playing a 4-4-2 formation, but overall we just need to be more flexible. When Diaby got injured, we looked weak in midfield – weaker than we’ve looked in that area for a very long time (even a very youthful Song and Denilson managed to keep things tight for a while when we were beset with injuries) – but we just kept plodding on with the same system for weeks/months on end. Since switching to 4-5-1 or whatever, we’ve struggled to find a system in which the central striker is well supported on a consistent basis. I remember for a few weeks we had RVP, Nasri, Fabregas and Walcott all fit and we looked great, but apart from that I don’t really remember a period of time when, in most matches, the striker wasn’t finding himself pretty isolated. Chelsea were never like that with Drogba; the striker did use his body better than Giroud, but he was also far better supported by the midfielders around him. We saw what it was like last season in the CL when he wasn’t well supported (because the whole team was set up to defend) and he basically had to cheat to contribute anything to the match!

  107. Highbury Harmony says:

    And how effective has Walcott been since he signed his contract? He’s been a shadow of his former self for the most part and has completely disappeared in games. He’s making runs to where? He’s making runs and expecting perfect passes, which he’s clearly not getting and he’s often way ahead of the play, not in great positions to pick up the ball anyway. He’s drifted completely centrally and has asked Jenkinson to defend and attack on his own on the right side. Theo was (and generally is) more effective than Ox on the right, but he’s done largely nothing for us since he re-signed. He needs to be benched to gain perspective on what his role is on this team and to not expect and force the issue of trying to be deployed as a central striker and completely abandoning his position at RW.

  108. marcus says:

    TA,
    Re Jovetic vs Benzema. I would go for Jovetic. You see I’ve watched Benzema for many years now and I have to say his best years were at Lyon. He’s too inconsistent for my liking. He is very skilled and can score quality goals but I feel that he loses form too often. Jovetic on the other hand has shown over the last three seasons that he is consistent. In fact he keeps getting better. He is further along the development curve than RVP was at 23 and with just a little coaching, he can be a deadly main striker.

  109. marcus says:

    HH,
    Re Walcott. I said earlier that I think Walcott has lost a little due to fatigue. I had predicted this. I remember earlier this season there was a post saying how now we had strength in depth up front with Poldi, Walcott and Giroud and I disputed that. I explained it this way; Yes, those 3 players are the strikers we have. However Wenger has designed a system where he plays all 3 of them at the same time. This means that despite how Wenger may play around with them positionally it still ends up that all 3 play and that defeats the purpose of rotation because they are all exposed to burn out and injury. What is happening now?

  110. marcus says:

    Davi,
    You see we play a system of football where if you decide to play like a poacher, you end up getting isolated up top. This wouldn’t be so however if we had a proper DM.

  111. marcus says:

    Red Arse,
    Good to hear from you mate. You bring out a good point on his one footedness. It is a profound weakness that makes him as predictable as Santi’s ambidexterity makes him unpredictable.

  112. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, :-)

    I have just had a read through last nights comments following another great Marcus Post, and it really makes an ace start to my day — thank you.

    There is, of course, various opinions that get aired, and that is the beauty of discussing Arsenal and our players, but there is always a new nugget brought up to make me think again.

    Off to watch the F1 Grand Prix — laterz.

  113. Gerry says:

    Marcus, Marcus, Marcus, damn and blast you! You have written a very good post ..err one I agree, btw, in case you were getting worried, ha ha … and it has brought in so many for and against replies that have taken an age to get through, That I have little time to comment … grrr!

    I think the main argument against Giro is a bit like the GK ones, because of their respective roles being so crucial to winning and losing. Therefore bad things get noticed more?

    My main defense of Giro has been the fact that he is rarely left ‘one on one’ because opposition’s know of his strengths. For almost every time you can criticise him for spilling the ball you can ask where is the player available for a one touch pass/knock down header?

    Also, and many have mentioned work rate, but as HH often admits, his defensive work has been outstanding? At the moment it is not a complete package for a variety of reasons, and I would like to pick up on the lack of decent crosses. Sagna still can make a decent cross, like Jenks, but both suffer from the lack of urgency of players to get in the box so the cross gets delayed. In Sagna’s case, he tends to wait which gives defenders time to get out to him an block it, and Jenks plays it too early. Which on the face of it, looks like bad decision making? I would put a similar case for Gibbs on the other side, as he often crosses near the goal line at the end of a quick move, but speculative rather than accurate because of a lack of targets.I am hopeful that this new found energy to defend well will translate in the same urgency to get in the box?

    I have made the case for Ox to play close to Giroud, but the formation thing is really only on paper? We have players in midfield that are capable of interchanging. I was amazed that the OX was on England’s right wing, supposedly? Old fashioned ‘inside right’ I would have said? Like Podolski on the left, the 4-3-3 system with overlapping backs works well for both these players, as it keeps the closer to the middle, but space to move either way. If you play a rigid 4-4-2 you really need proper wingers that can cross the ball?

    Marcus, you mention Coquelin at the end. Can I urge people who are going to get a ‘day pass’ on the Arsenal Player to watch the Next Gen match on Monday, to use it an see the highlights of the Under 21′s match against ManU last week, if available. The contrast in the form of Yennaris, playing regularly at this level, apart from injury time out, and Coquelin, who has spent more time on the bench than he has playing is there to be seen? That is the dilemma of having players who are on the fringes, but occasionally needed, and the sending out on loan. The latter is no guarantee that playing regularly does not result in injuries either(Ryo)? So you get Frimpong who we may lose for a nominal ‘developing fee’, Coquelin for a modest fee, both seeking playing time, and keeping Yennaris who has limited first team experience, and the cycle may get repeated next season if the TW goes the way most people want?

    Should be a good game to watch on Monday, Gnabry scoring a couple of beauties for the German Under 18′s, Akpom also back from international duty, and may be Eisfeld too. The latter may be our stand in for Podolski, if injury keeps him out for any length of time. Those three, plus Yennaris, is what makes the future look exciting, and why I believe AW will bow out on a high note … at the appropriate time?

    I am glad I did not have time to add a lot to this discussion ….

  114. marcus says:

    Gerry,
    Obviously in Giroud’s case, he is still getting the benefit of doubt as we all know that time will indeed tell. Re Coquelin, I think he hasn’t really been given a chance. I’ve watched him play once this season, against Blackburn at RB and in my eyes he was OUTSTANDING. He is a tough but skilled tackler, aggressive in his play, lively, can go forward and make a defense splitting pass. I must say he is tireless and EFFECTIVE, something a lot of our first teamers aren’t. Granted blackburn aren’t exactly a top team, I think if he had been given a proper chance to prove himself at either DM or RB, things would be different for him.

  115. allezkev says:

    Very interesting post and some in-depth comment as well.
    I think we shall see a ‘new-improved’ Giroud next season.
    He’ll have a good year of EPL experience behind him and then I think we can really judge him.
    It’s really up to Arsene, to get the best out of him, after all he signed him.
    And if that means making some tactical changes, then so be it. Unless, of course Arsene does plan to splash out on another striker.
    I like Olivier, he gives us something that we have lacked in recent seasons, an airiel presence at both ends if the pitch.
    He may have certain limitations, due mostly to his lack if pace, but I can only see him improving and becoming an important player for us…
    Tbh, I am more concerned about Podolski.
    I really like Lukasz, but I was expecting a bit more from him. As with Giroud, next season is the the time to judge IMHO.

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Marcus and other fellow Gooners :)

    Fine comments by Davi, Gerry and others last night and this morning.

    Aim to issue the next post early afternoonish.

  117. TotalArsenal says:

    allezkev, hi.

    good point about his defensive contributions. What sort of tactical changes would you suggest to get the best out of OG?

  118. allezkev says:

    Morning Total, bloody freezing this morning, again…
    Tactical changes?!
    Well I think someone mentioned it in here earlier, regarding some extra work on the training ground to improve our crossing.
    It’s not rocket science, we can see his strength, why not play to it?
    Jenkinson gets in some good early whipped crosses, the others need to do some practice on that area of their game.
    I’m not suggesting that we become one-dimensional, but why not utilise all our assets…

  119. allezkev says:

    Giroud has some weaknesses in his game, and I’m sure he’s working on them.
    He’s never going to be a ‘speed merchant’ so I don’t expect to see him chasing around like Ian Wright.
    It’s up to his team mates to recognise and play to his strengths.
    I’ve seen him score all types of goals this season, so the potential is there, as he has already shown in Ligue Un.
    I would also like to echo the comments made earlier by HH.
    Always enjoy the sensible and sober chat on here.
    Must be that chilled-out Dutch influence… ;-)

  120. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks allezkev

    Freezing indeed so easy to be chilled-out haha :)

    Agreed on improving our crossing further, but we also need more people in the box and I would like Giroud to anticipate crosses better too.

    I reckon we will only get the best out of him if and when we play another attacker really close to him.

  121. VCC says:

    Morning all fine BKers’

    Giroud is like Marmite………you either like it or hate it.

    Fine, fine post Marcus. My, this site has wonderful scribes, contributing articles, and mighty fine follow ups too. All trying to be constructive, and in a gentlemanly manner. Big up for everyone.

    Trouble is, I spend far too much time on here. Have plenty of chores to do, but they don’t get done. I will be naming Total in my divorce proceedings if it carries on much longer ;-)

    Looking forward to the next gen game on Monday. Hope I can get a good stream on the computer.

    Latterzzzzz Muvverzzzz

  122. marcus says:

    This guy deserves a shot.

  123. Gerry says:

    Marcus, I am not disagreeing with you – great video(for would be purchasers alas?)btw – What I was pointing out, that because he not been given the opportunities his game has suffered. The comparison between him and Yennaris was the for all to see? Not his work rate or his not stop running, just the lack of examples shown in the video.
    I hope young Nico will equally impress you if you can get a feed for the Next Gen on Monday, if he plays as well as he has been. He has everything that Le Coq has except his experience at the top level. The bonus is, he is a Gooner right down to his bone marrow.

    I am a big fan of both, and had we not dithered about on Walcott’s contract I think the missing piece would have probably been signed up, and he could have got a bit more game time, albeit, often as a late sub. As it is, we have not been ahead in games enough to bring him on, or rotate with the others for that B2B position, or at least in the eyes of AW?

  124. Gerry says:

    VCC – If I follow your divorce line of defence, does that not make you your own co-respondent?

    The ‘Player should work fine for Monday’s game, and I think it will be a cracker. Worth the ‘day pass’ for sure.

  125. VCC says:

    Gerry……All chores completed, must be in good books when she comes home from work.

    Now off down the pub to celebrate with my Son, on his sunday team getting to their sunday league cup final 3-2 win today. Whoop Whoop.

    I will try and get arsenal on line for a day pass on Monday if possible.

  126. VCC says:

    whats happened to my gravatar?

  127. VCC says:

    right…thats it….i’m off to Norwich to sort that Total out. Whats happening on here? I don’t like that mauvey square thing. :-(

  128. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, did you change email address or type your name differently? Otherwise I do not have a clue ;)

  129. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, from time to time, you need to log into your avatar again, I reckon…

  130. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post. Rohan has made some fine comments over the last few weeks and now he has produced a fine, maiden post for BK. Enjoy the read and comments! :)

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