Much has been made about Arsenal selling their best striker by far – and last year’s PL top scorer – to our bitterest rival in recent years: the non-oil funded Mancs. Even the glass half-full Gooners felt we did not have enough strength in depth up-front, and almost everybody was convinced that MU had a far stronger strike-force than the mighty Arsenal.
As anticipated, the boredom of the interlull has fuelled some gossip going round currently, that Arsene has up to £35m to spend on a new striker, and some fancy names are being bandied about at the moment. I reckon it is highly unlikely Arsene will buy a superstar striker in the next transfer window, if ever. We might see a replacement being bought for Chamakh and/or Theo but don’t expect it to be an experienced, top quality striker.
Of course the season has only just started with just seven games played in the PL until now, but the first signs are showing that Arsenal’s strike-force will match or better that of MU.
Arsenal has been varying their formation this season; either playing with Giroud on top and two wingers on each side, or playing with three fluid strikers who interchange constantly with each other, and anybody can be our ‘mid-striker’ at any given time. Our strikers have done well; in fact they have done better than the MU strike-force until now.
Goals by Arsenal strike-force (all competitions):
Total = 15.
Goals by MU strike-force (all competitions):
Brave Sir Robin: 7
Total = 8.
So, until now our strike-force has scored nearly double as much as the highly rated, praised-into-heaven strike-force of the Mancs. Once again, it is early days and things can change in either direction, but we are still able to make a few observations:
- MU have taken over our previous disease of overreliance on the reliant, but always prone to long-term injury, Dutchman. A few midfielders have scored two goals for MU, and their defenders have been chipping in with the odd goal, but the ‘awesome’ strike-force of MU – not including the traitor – have managed a meagre one goal between the three of them until now. It is fair to say, Rooney has been injured for most of the start of the season, but his PL-experienced replacements have not been able to adequately fill the gap he left behind, and leaned heavily on the shoulders of the Dutch turncoat.
- Arsenal, on the other hand, have been able to share the goals between the strikers much better until now, whilst our midfielders and a couple of defenders have also been able to put their names of the score sheets with a goal (Santi two).
- Despite MU having an established strike-force with each player having either a lot, or plenty, of PL experience, they are showing a lack of form and sharpness, and the longer it will take for this to disappear the more vulnerable they will become to suspension or injury of brave sir Robin.
- Arsenal, however, have had very little adjustment problems by their strikers. Gervinho is now in his second season and has hit the ground running. Impressively, so has Podolski who has shown absolutely no PL-acclimatisation issues until now. And what about Theo: he must have the ‘least minutes between goals’ record in England, if not Europe, at the moment. Being only used as a late sub, he has hardly played but hit the net four times already this season.
- The only striker that has not hit top-form yet, in terms of scoring goals, is Giroud. OG has been super keen to make a mark straightaway and his over-eagerness has possibly been more of a hinder than a help. However, his recent goals against WH and Spain will have done him a world of good and will hopefully give him the confidence and inner calmness to further improve his goal scoring.
I have no doubt that the MU strike-force will start performing a lot better sooner or later, but they have some catching up to do, and I am quietly confident that our strike-force will have outperformed theirs by the end of the season.
Now, wouldn’t that just be great and another proof of Arsene’s great ability to evolve his teams phenomenally well, given the means at his disposal?!
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