Giroud will be our main CF, but who will be our ‘Griezman’?

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It should have been The tournament for the likes of Ronaldo, Lukaku, Bale and Lewandowski, but the Euros were not very kind to them. Ronaldo scored three goals (208 minutes per goal), Lukaku scored  two goals (201 minutes per goal), Bale scored three (178 minutes per goal), and Lewandowski scored just one goal. Nothing to write home about.

Football is changing once again and the super central forward may become a thing of the past. Defending has become an applicable science it seems;  weaker teams successfully frustrated (on paper) stronger teams by building a mobile fortress around their goal keepers during this year’s Euros. Ronaldo’s Portugal of course won the borefest, but he did not have the much desired hero role in this. In fact, some have argued that the Portuguese started to play better as a team in the final once the man with the enormous laryngeal prominence (Adam’s apple) – the lump that perhaps bottles up all his frustrations – was withdrawn due to injury.

The way to crack the solid, PTB defences is through a combination of quick, clever passing and running AND having a strong central presence to link up with and create space for fellow attackers. I reckon Wenger realised this years ago and that is why he made Giroud such a central part in his style of play. The beautifully named Didier Deschamps also understood the need for a strong central attacker in the team who can play with his back towards goal, and selected both Giroud and Gignac for his squad. If and when Giroud was substituted, no doubt to make sure he got enough rest, Deschamp brought on a like for like player (in style, but not quality) with Gignac. The French have so many quality attackers that they did not have to opt for Giroud as CF, but DD was keen to build his attack around him.

Giroud was not the hero though, that role goes to the super-talented and ultra-passionate Greizman. The six-goal Golden Boot winner said he loved to play with Giroud, and he certainly knew how to benefit from Ollie’s general presence, link up play and the space he created for him and others. France were by far the better team but, as a Dutchman, I can tell you the best team does not always  win a major final.

The Germans had Gomez as a Giroudesque CF, and once he got injured their attacking football became significantly less effective. The Italians used Pelle as a strong, holding presence and were perhaps the surprise of the tournament (and a tat unlucky to go out on penalties).

Gomez, Giroud and Pelle are not great CFs as the once we came to love over the years, but they are essential in the modern game nevertheless. Without them attacking teams will quickly look and play like the Germans did against the Portuguese, or the Spanish national  team in general: lots of passes and attempts to crack the parked buses with fast passes and runs with and without the ball, but very often all to little effect.

I am also convinced that if Wenger wanted a typical/traditional super CF in his team, like Aguero, or indeed Griezman as deployed by Atletico, he would have moved Alexis in there ages ago. Ultimately though, we would become too dependent and one dimensional if we were to play the Chilean fire-cracker as our CF, and we would also struggle to crack the parked buses due to Alexis’ lack of physical presence and continuous threat in the air.

There is no doubt in my mind that Wenger will play Giroud as our main CF again next season, but he will be looking for one or two players who can take on the ‘Griezman’ role. That is where we went wrong last season imo. 

Alexis is the obvious player for this but I am not sure whether he really clicks with the handsome Frenchman. Iwobi showed very promising signs and could be developed into a ‘Griezman’. The likes of Ox and Campbell also have potential. Or maybe…. Wenger is looking for his ideal ‘Griezman’ in the transfer market?

By TotalArsenal.

29 thoughts on “Giroud will be our main CF, but who will be our ‘Griezman’?

  • Who will be our main striker?, Giroud simply isn’t good enough and never will be, once again in the Euros he missed chances and he will continue to do the same this season, get ready for another groundhog season except we will struggle to finis h in the top four, same old Wenger, same old Arsenal, same old tippy tappy rubbish and same old AKBs clinging on to every word

  • I will have to come back to this question later, as I have spent a lot of time putting together my answers to the previous post comments. Some of which cuts across your post TA.

    Two things that strike me with your admiral defence of Giroud are these:

    Picking out the ‘Star’ quality players who registered hardly a burb on the Richter scale may not be as simplistic as you make out. They come from finely developed teams who know where players are if they just twitch their noses. Put together with players who are not on that same level of mutual understanding means that they do not get the same opportunities. It is possible that BM team could have won its way to the final?

    Playing Giroud in the same role week in week out makes him predictable.
    I would like to see him play a false 9, withdrawing deep towards the centre circle occasionally.. Unfortunately you cannot play him wide, but there has to be more variety to his game if he is to be the player you think he can be?

    Back tomorrow,cheers,

    p.s. Have a word with WordPress. They seem to have stopped putting the ‘return to comment’ option. I spotted errors on my last post. Had to back page to put in the corrections, only to find I couldn’t post it. C&P’d it, after closing down and starting afresh, posted it, only to find they published the one with errors in it … GRRRRR!

  • Sorry TA, I was at the point of posting, by logging into WordPress. It was then that I spotted the errors. There was a time you could ‘return to BK’.
    As I say, I went back via ‘previous page’ on the browser. Copied it. Closed both BK and the still open WP page. This in turn shut down the browser.
    Restarted to get to BK. Copied the edited version into the blank comments page, posted it, only to find WP posted the copy I thought would have been wiped. Strange or what?

  • As usual, great observation TA! 🙂
    Amongst the current crop, as you say, Alexis would the one who might be best suited for this role. And indeed he has shown that he does this quite well when he plays for Chile. My theory is that the defensive nervousness (especially a little bit into the season when Coq got injured) forces Wenger to hold Alexis back to provide cover and not go in full “Griezman mode” and that this plays a role in not taking full advantage of the possibilities involving the two of them. Perhaps he will still give a try with what you are suggesting this year. From a different angle, Ozil is best placed to take advantage of OG given his movement. But his extreme reluctance to score goals means going for that one extra pass and…
    I do feel however that with each game there are a lot of subtle tweaks that Wenger (and every other manager) makes in positioning each of the players and areas that they cover. This is necessary in the PL given that the others are not exactly doozies to be stepped over. So, not sure that the Griezman approach would work over an entire season. For instance, against Portugal, it seemed to me that both Pogba and Matuidi appeared nullified and I wasn’t sure if Sissoko charging ahead was really part of the plan or if he was just showing initiative. In any case, it created, I think, sufficient disruption to the OG-AG relationship. Have such a result thrice over the season and the title is out…and the boo boys and the talking heads will make watching even more unpleasant.

  • Right, having had a night to sleep on this question, here are my thoughts.

    Giroud as our CF presents us with a target to aim for. But that also means he is a target for defenders to nullify.
    The Griezman effect in the Euros worked in two ways: 1, His attacking threat meant he had to be marked. An attacking wide player usually requires a marker and back up defender; 2, What Griezman did quite effectively when coming inside was to use the space that Ollie made with his movement. He was also very clinical with the chances, and sometimes only half chances, he had.

    What you have to remember, in a tournament is teams have far fewer games to learn how to cope with such ‘new’ tactics. Indeed, most would not get a second chance to do things differently.
    So St. Henry is quite right to say it is unlikely, that season long, it would continue to work as well.

    You only have to see the number of promoted teams who do something a little out of the norm, get a lot of points in the first half of the season, only to fade in the second half. Indeed, many thought that is what would happen to Leicester, especially after our win at Christmas? What they did not take into account was Ranieri changing from ‘gung ho’ to controlled counter attacking.

    But the question posed is who will be our ‘Griezman’? Well I will put my weight behind the ‘head up’ Ox. Especially if he can stay fit, get a run of games in that position, and be calm and collected with his goal strikes. I fear Walcott is not in the right frame of mind at the moment. Nor to be honest, has he the same trickery to be as effective. He needs the whole environment to change around him to be at his best, rather than being able to change that environment?

    From the French example, it does seem that the player coming in from the right does help Giroud, as it moves him into a position that favours his left boot. It does take the rest of the attack to move appropriately, otherwise you end up with a crowded centre which we saw so many times last season. Luckily we have Bellerin down that side who has shown repeatedly that he needs marking carefully as he is capable of creating something too? From what I saw last season, Ox makes a better combination with Bellerin than Campbell, which is another reason for sticking by the Ox.

    The TW has still yet to play out, and I fear for the Ox’s opportunities in that wide position if there is movement in the market. This is one of the reasons I thought the centre, moving wide(right) would as effective as Ramsey moving centre, wide(left), in an earlier comment.
    The market might also have an influence on Giroud’s sole ownership of the CF spot? That may not be to the detriment to Ollie’s game if the new ‘Presence!’ (copyright The Prof – not AW), as this might offer more space for his left boot.

    Who knows, a fully fledged Gnabry could be that guy at some point down the line ….?

    So much is unknown at this point in the pre-season, we can only guess how things will turn out.
    But for me, Ox is the ‘go to’ man with a hot chance of claiming that spot …as it stands right now.

  • All good points, Gerry, and your belief in the Ox is well documented. I am willing to give him another chance but like you I believe Wenger is looking for a quality signing for the right midwing position.

  • Good points StH. Agreed re defensive balance holding Alexis back quite a bit. I am thinking of playing Alexis as Nr10 with Mesut and Jack as our creative mid wingers… With Granit providing added creativity from deep through the middle.

    I am not worried about a combination being nullified at times. This always happens, even Dennis and Thierry were affected by this..only to come back stronger the next game.

    I watched the late season game man city v Arsenal again last night. Ollie was nullified for large parts by a very physical midfield and CBs, only to pounce twice when it mattered with a header goal and sublime assist for….Alexis to score the equaliser. To get the best out of Ollie, we need a Grieaman to work with him; let’s see what’ll happen in the next few weeks.

  • Mmmmmn …. Somebody is going to be a happy boy, because a WHA are turning their attentions elsewhere, wait for it …. because Arsenal seem to be winning the race for ….

    On the other hand, Arsenal have had two bids turned down, according to Lyon sources.
    The latest, a £35m., so it seems they are semi serious, and as I read, no other club has stepped in with a counter offer. If they dither around the £40m mark they could miss out?

  • Apologies. I got so excited … That should read Wissam not Wilson.

    Bit of a comment and deny going on with Mahrez too???

  • Hi TA, sorry about being a day late on this one…

    A couple of things… The first is pedantic…Griezmann has a 2nd N at the tail of his surname. The 2nd is important…Giroud seems to rate short of a world class striker but, like a good passing big man in basketball, his game comes alive if others know how to play off him, making him (potentially) very, very useful. From that game, (called Baloncesto in a prettier language…) it’s essentially playing the pick (or screen) and roll, The key is that two players (plus the ball) move past one another blocking out their markers in various ways while creating space for an attempt on goal. It’s all fairly basic but it requires the right skills and a fearlessness to abandon prescribed positions and move through those tight spaces.

    That late season goal vs City (and was there another vs Villa?…) shows that if Alexis tunes into Giroud’s hold up work very good things can happen. Ozil too, but like St. Henry says, he’s rarely looking to shoot or set up his own shot so the movement is often much more lateral than Griezmann’s. Ramsey is good at continuing his runs but tends to like (or need…) a bit more space, I think. We can all remember Ollie and Jack hooking up for the goal of the season two years ago (vs Norwich, I think), so he’s another who can benefit;

    Ozil really was missing Gomez in that semi-final at the Euros and, IMO, if Germany had not had their injuries they were by far the most deserving team to lift the trophy. France’s goals in that match were distinctly against the run of play. (A 2nd baffling raised hand was the cause of the decisive pen and Griezmann’s 2nd goal, while instinctive, had a touch of luck about it.) That a solid and very “experienced” (read: cynical) defender like Pepe was able to organize his very average Portugal teammates enough to neutralize Ollie and Antoine in the final shows that a plan B (or maybe a plan A…) is probably needed to help us win against teams set up to defend. France looked best when they scored early and forced teams to come out. The best Giroud/Griezmann combo of them all was on a long ball over the top vs Ireland in the round of 16 (I think).

    So, to conclude, I salute the various upbeat takes on these matters (including Gerry’s faith in the Ox to somehow surmount his injury and mental issues–and being a right footed player–to realize his ample potential…) but I can also appreciate the argument that Thierry Henry put forth 1.5 years ago damning Arsenal with Giroud as our main striker. To me, he showed a good step forward at the Euros but, as trophy mad Gooners will tell you, you cannot argue with results. Failing to find a way to win the final, I fear, undid much of the good progress our big man had achieved,,, In the end, France might be ruing the shenanigans (and absences) of another big man (Benzema) and the little man he (allegedly) helped to have filmed (Valbuena), an additional combination of players that might have helped get the job done.

  • Interesting take on who should have won the Euros Seventenho 😀

    France were the best team, not ‘by far’ but definitely the best team of the tournament. They lost the final and this happens to the best teams 😜

  • Ben Yedder! Ben Yedder! 🙂

    Someone in the media must have read my comments about him and finally decided to link him with us. I hope it happens, especially now it seems Lyon are playing hardball (and dirty by going public) regarding Lacazette. Fingers crossed.

    Add in the likelihood of Mahrez and if that goes through, that would be a fantastic attack. Might mean saying bye to Theo or Campbell. But I’d be ok with that (especially if it’s Theo who goes)

  • Yeah, TA, France, with the home pitch advantage and more control over their injuries and suspensions, were probably the best team at the Euros…That said, Germany played them off the pitch, except for, you know, the goals…. 😀 I think they’d have been even better if they’d had the two from the (alleged) sex-tape scandal at their disposal…

    So, in the end, I most heartily agree about Arsenal using Giroud (or another striker) who can play “big,” i.e., with his back to goal or doing the screen-roll thing as the best way to unlock the parked busses. Plenty of players have the skill-set Griezmann possesses, they just need to take their chances when they come. With Welbeck out long-term and so many of our guys not blessed with the best fitness records, we most certainly need to buy before the deadline, I think…

    Which leads to Ben Yedder, Mahrez and Lacazzette as the French-speaking fellows of the moment. Who rates whom the most (Shard?, Gerry? others?)… And what about cut-rate prices on the guys mentioned above (the sex-tape boys)?… Like AW, I love a bargain…

  • Cheers Shard. Just saw a video posted by Chas on AA, and he looks promising: mobile, direct, fast and strong technically. Will read article now.

  • Mmmmmn, If your seeing a therapist for your depression HT, I think you are wasting your money, because it is not improving your humour one jot. 😀
    At least one comment in the above two comments is sailing pretty close to libel …. unless you have proof that …. X ‘helped to have filmed(Y)?

    I mused yesterday when you, quite unnecessarily brought up a comment from over a year ago, by someone who no longer writes on here, and apologised for said offensive word ….
    that if you and Theo were seeing the same councellor as per a married couple, one would be saying how great it was when everything was going so well … before the big pay rise, and the other would keep going back years before with snapshots of conversations back in the day …

    Come on HT, lighten up. It is a new season full of hope and optimism. Can’t you get just a little bit excited for what might be about to happen? The toxic element will be there, but you don’t have to be affected by it. Rise above it.

    And to answer to your final paragraph above. Shard has the great faith in Ben Yedder, I have been a big fan of Mahrez, again well documented, like my support for the Ox blossoming into the potential he had shown when playing for Southampton. Regarding the latter being right footed, as far as shots are concerned, I see no problem with that if he is operating down the right side. I made a point of mentioning that when he switched to the left side in the friendly, it did not improve his game …. Oh, as for who rates Lacazette, well a £35m bid would indicate AW does?

  • Gerry, please leave the personal comments out. If you don’t like another blogger’s take on life and our club, just refrain from commenting. You are both valued bloggers on BK and need to keep it civil. Your last comment is disrespectful towards Seventeenho..

  • Seventeenho, I reckon Wenger hates to pay over the odds rather than loving a bargain, and in the current market the former is a lot more likely to happen. He has an eye for special and available talent though, and BY could become a typical Wenger/Shard signing! 😀⚽️

  • I can take it, TA, if Gerry can… 😀

    And, I’m actually willing to cut Gerry some slack since he’s at least using full names and not (those obnoxious) initials… Believing that people are reading our silliness and that using names might be jeopardizing potential transfers, I think, might be known as Grandiose Personality Disorder. That said, I’m no expert in psychology so I might leave it at egomania, narcissism, or, as above, just obnoxious… I’ll get my lawyers on the libel case…Or at least edit my comment to say “allegedly.” (Still what about Benz and Valbuena, people? They’re both very good players, though surely some would have trouble with the size of the littler one…)

    More smileys, eh, and I love me some Gerry enthusiasm… Much better than when he gets worried that we’re gonna lose our best players after reading those (made up) links to that effect… Indeed, I still have happy feelings about Theo and (if I were a gambling man…) I’d maybe put a tenner on him getting the winner on opening day vs ‘Pool. If I could have Gerry’s address, however, I could help finance his red-level membership, instead. I’d MUCH rather read about what he sees than what he’s read… (In other words, cheers for the scouting report from the Lens match the other day, eh…)

    The truth is…I am a bit excited about the new season but I also feel our hopes rest almost entirely on the players who are already at the club. We need to sign somebody (anybody, almost) just to appease the masses, but I expect very little immediate impact. I know absolutely zero about Ben Yedder and only slightly more about Lacazette who looked like a poor man’s Reine-Adelaide at last season’s Emirates Cup. Mahrez (as I said back when Gerry was in hibernation…) is one (along with Draxler) who would really get me enthused. Personally, I’m very pleased we didn’t land Vardy, but that’s just me…

    Mostly, however, I think we NEED to have a very good August (results and signings) to let off a little pressure on the manager and players. The league should be extremely competitive this season but fans live in the moment so (even though we’re top of the table, alphabetically, at least)
    we’re already behind the eight ball (that’s an American Billiards or “Pool” reference, sorry)… 7 out of 9 points and a couple of signings and I’ll be ready for September

    Hugs?… 😀

  • Hi all..
    TA.. My answer is Sanchez.. period.. No Ox, Iwobi nor Campbell.. hehehe..
    I prefer Walcott.. seriously Walcott..
    He is quick and good at passing and scoring.. And guest what.. he just as short as Greizmann.. hahaha

    Gerry.. to reply your last post about Bellerin who could play as our RW.. I 100% agreed with that.. and so did Monreal and Gibbs.. Remembered Wenger give Gibbs a LW role more often than LB last season.. hehehe.. He surely had something in his mind.. hohoho..
    And that’s mean a very good thing to our attacking program.. And if We play 4-4-2 formation.. we can switch to 2-4-2-2 or 2-4-3-1 in attacking with Bellerin and Monreal/Gibbs who can pass and run quickly as our Winger..
    Have ever seen a 2-4-2-2 or 2-4-3-1 formation.. hehehehe..

  • Sorry TA and HT … I think something touched a raw nerve, when there are so many reports of individuals committing dreadful acts around the World, and in France in particular, the cravings of irrational football fans sort of drops off the scale …

    So I will stick to points on football in future responses, but not ignore digs that say one thing but mean something which is not backed up by the oblique reference. Okay?

    Actually your first paragraph on naming names HT, is not quite the reason I refrain from using them. Names I used yesterday were already out there. How these stories can get embellished, and then get a life of their own, is simple. With all these blog writers looking for a daily, yes, DAILY topics, do so by reading other snippets from what has been written on other sites.
    In this whole new world of self-generating topics they can end up as transfer talk.
    Nothing to do with any thought of my importance on the chattering masses. They are led by others.
    Still following your comments HT. I think we both know that one thing AW does like is character above playing ability? Any whiff of scandal, or betrayal, and Benzema was guilty on both counts. The former your comment with ‘allegedly’ installed, is well documented, but Benzema’s comments on social media after he got his new deal, after stringing AW along means he will never be an option, even on a ‘free’. Valbueno? What, a replacement for Wilshere? I doubt it …
    not to mention being caught up in said scandal.

    Next …
    I should point out that Kos can be added to the list of players that have yet to sign up to extensions, and this is the basis that potentially ‘losing players’ stories are based upon. Fact, with a little addition of speculation. Don’t be too smug until their deals are sorted, just remember Bacary Sagna? Who made to the top 11 from the Euro’s, btw.

    Thanks for the belated appreciation the Len’s Player (rather than a ‘Match’) report. I tried to reflect, honestly, as I saw it. Even if meant poor reviews for players I like. Apparently AW must have thought along similar lines, as I just saw a link that says Jeff RA is likely to replace Chuba Akpom in the first team list, as his name has been removed from the ‘Academy’ group?
    Note, that is not me influencing things!

    I am touched by your offer of Red Membership support, alas, my address is subject of change, and I doubt I’ll get any decent signal in a tent, ha ha.
    Thanks for the offer though.

    Now, having got you excited HT, we are in an area of disagreement. I think the current squad, without addition(s) actually need another year for some to grow into their roles, whilst others are just a bit ‘iffy’ to make it easy/easier for them, by having a strong season. No doubt we have a strong capability with our best players, but their is a gap on consistency and fitness with others.
    Hence I side with the need to buy, if they fit the criteria that improves the areas of need. Not just anyone for the sake of it.
    I could put you into brain-warp dimension rage if I put up the initials of who I think is AW’s back stop …. but I won’t …. lol.

    I find it funny that you eventually find Mahrez an exciting thought HT. Better late than never. I would put them in that order of preference too, Draxler down a notch for injury concerns. However, the Ben Yedder band wagon may increase if another CB is required thanks to Per’s injury. I don’t fancy a make do and mend like we did with DM’s last season?

    Incidentally, I was amused following the link on Ben Yedder saying he was third on the stats for assists in Lique 1, behind Zlatan. Guess who was second?
    Remember, you asked what I saw in him, re £40m for an 18 year old?
    Think back to what I wrote about Mahrez?
    I do have a little doubt about Ben Yedder though. It is one thing to say he did all that playing for a non fashionable club, but also he is playing against a lower level/less physical defenders. But that is the route Mahrez came from, and the boy does have quick feet and good close control (from the clips, oft repeated, at least), and can use both pegs. Not unlike Mahrez.

    As to how August will play out, I want to see improvement through these friendlies, particularly from those who could do better. Walcott a prime example. In a more structured team, rather than a put together group last time, he will have fewer excuses? I fear that his public demotion from striker has really knocked his confidence?

    I hope that passes the football test, and I am pleased you are stepping into the light.

  • Peace gentlemen

    On Dembele, he is no doubt a fantastic talent. Dortmund already have signed him up as replacement for Mkhitaryan and apparently he went quite cheap (15m). He’s going to be a star, but I reckon Wenger sees Jeff and Willock as similar players with similar potential, while we also have the Ox who is yet to reach his best. There’s also Iwobi and Gnabry. So I think he chose not to buy Dembele.

    On WBY and a lesser league. The quality in the French league is lower. But a) what are our other options? Lacazette plays in the French league too. and b) I haven’t seen last years stats, but France the year before, was actually the lowest scoring league among the top 5 leagues in Europe. This might be due to a lack of good goalscorers, or it might be due to better defending, or more likely a combination. Both Lacazette and Ben Yedder have been very consistent in their goals scored over the past 3 or 4 years. Neither of them are one season wonders, and I would like either of them at Arsenal. I just have a gut feeling about Ben Yedder which means I would like him more. Plus he’s cheaper and will let us use that money to also buy Mahrez (and now a defender) 🙂

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