Will or won’t Theo sign a new contract? And if so, does that mean Giroud will end up on the bench? And what about Podolski: he would also like to play more in the centre, and on top of that the rumours of Arsenal looking for another central striker are getting stronger at the moment.
Of all the rumours, the one regarding Demba Ba joining us from Newcastle seems the most feasible to me. But why are Arsenal still looking for a central striker? Does that mean, Arsene expects Theo to move on in January, or could it be that Arsene is thinking to move to a different system of 4-4-2 or 4-4-1?
To be honest, I have not got a clue.
I like the idea of Giroud up-front, especially in a 4-5-1 system. The Frenchman is great at holding up the ball and allowing the midfield to bounce the ball of him. I also like Giroud in a 4-4-1-1 upfront with either Theo or even Cazorla behind him. Giroud could feed the ball to either of them, but would also benefit from their potential assists.
But then I can also see a problem with Giroud. As a more classical centre forward, and in order to use him to his full potential, the whole attack has to be focussed around him, which will a) make us more predictable and b) make us more dependent on him. It does also mean that we need a good number two in the team, who can take over from Giroud in case of suspension or injury.
At the moment, we do not have an adequate replacement. Chamakh’s days are counted, and I don’t think Podolski has the same skill-set for the pivotal role up-front as Giroud does.
However, we have also played a ‘fluid-three’ up-front in the last few months: most recently with Theo in the middle, and Pod and Ox on the wings, but also with Gervinho in the middle and Pod and Ox on the wings. I really like the unpredictability of playing a non-classic CF upfront with two players on the wings who can also finish really well. Key is though that at least one of the ‘wingers’ is actually a winger who can make things happen. For me that means that in the current squad either Gervinho or the Ox has to play on one of the wings. With Gervinho going to the AOC , and the Ox picking up form recently, I reckon we will see more of Ox on the right wing.
If Arsene is to continue with a fluid-three up-front, is buying another CF the right thing to do; or is it more important to buy a traditional, quality winger who can add the necessary width and guile to our attacking play?
If Demba Ba is indeed joining us in January, it must mean we are going to play in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formation, and I cannot say that would not excite me. I can see us play Cazorla and Ox on the mid-wings and Arteta and Wilshere in the middle, with either Giroud and Theo, Theo and Pod, Ba and Theo, Giroud and Pod, Ba and Giroud, or Ba and Podolski up-front. For Demba Ba you could also put another striker with whom we are being linked at the moment.
All the above indicates that it is hard to predict what system we are going to play and who will be our main attackers in 2013. Arsene bought Giroud only this summer, so surely his plans must involve him. But he appears also keen to keep Theo and give him his wish to be played in the middle. Both are different strikers and might, or might not, be able to play together. The only way to play them together is a 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 formation, and if that is what Arsene is aiming for, I can understand why he would want to buy another CF, as he will need cover in such a system.
But what is it going to be? You tell me!