The Beast Arsenal is Missing

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Having looked again at our victory against the Spudsskins, one of the questions that popped up was: Do Arsenal have a Beast of a CF?

Our wing-play was so good, both from the left and the right. ESR, Tierney and Xhaka controlled the left wing throughout the game and many fine crosses and passes were produced from there. On the right, Saka/Pepe, Soares and Partey played well and a few fine chances were created from there too. Both sets of ‘wing-players’ were aided by the very mobile, energetic and intelligent Odegaard. It really was very good the way we got through the Spuddies’ defence at will several times during the match. There was real sting from our butterflies.

Some have pointed out that our high crosses were a waste of time.

I agree with this to some extent. I thought the boys mixed it up well, and a high cross that is not met by a Gunner’s head is still harder to defend than a low cross that can be kicked much easier out of danger. High crosses can lead to misplaced headers and thus follow up chances for us – and we had always enough players in and around the box to make the Spuds restless. I thought we never allowed them to take control of their defending, and that was some achievement.

But we are currently weak in the air when it comes to non set-pieces. I have written on here before that letting Giroud go was a big mistake by Arsene. Not that I would still see him as a regular starter, but his aerial presence is missed and we have not replaced him. Auba cannot head the ball well and Laca misses height to be as effective as he would need to be. Just imagine that half -moon face Kane would have been in attack for us rather than for them on Sunday, and how much more threat, and probably goals, we would have had in the box.

I love both Auba and Laca and they are very valuable members of the team. They do not need to be in the CF position necessarily to play in our team. Either of them can play somewhere else alongside a ‘proper’ CF and they would still add value to the team. But with such good wing-play now, are we not desperate for a beast of a CF?

What do you think?

By TotalArsenal

23 thoughts on “The Beast Arsenal is Missing

  • So Total, you are going to become a Jam Tart 😀 excellent, I’ve always leaned more towards them and I also think their shirt colour is class.

  • Is that Benik Afobe standing behind Harry Kane…

    But for a succession of debilitating knee injuries I think that Afobe could have made it at Arsenal.
    Another ‘what if’…

  • Good post TA, the way I understand it and it’s always hearsay isn’t it, but that Wenger had a choice between Lacazette and Aubameyang the summer he signed Lacazette – a played he’d long admired and as with Arsene, bless him, thought long and hard about, probably too long.

    I think from what I’ve heard the feeling at the club at the time was that Aubameyang was the choice he should have taken, but Arsene is and still is very much his own man. So we signed Laca.
    That meant Giroud and Laca were fighting for the same spot.

    Deschamps got involved and told everyone who would listen what Giroud should do, which was very nice of him especially as the FFF didn’t pay Giroud’s wages or look after his welfare, but c’est la vie as Le Gall would say, with a shrug. 😉

    Anyway, if Arsene had listened back then the summer he signed Alex then maybe he would have passed over Lacazette again and gone instead with Aubameyang and kept Giroud, happy days…

    Such is life, as my Dad used to say, with a cockney shrug.

  • We need players who believe in themselves in that position. it is not difficult but it’s up to the strikes how they want to have a relationship with midfielders and wingers and must have football brains. Arsenal don’t have that forward even Aubameyang

  • Fear not TA. I’ve heard promising things from young prospect Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

  • But do we have the money to pull one of the top notching striker? when we are always after rejects in other clubs.

  • That is a valid point, TA.
    I like tactical and positional flexibility, so I would favor a squad where there is a technically savvy striker with great offensive positioning – someone like Filippo Inzaghi or Ruud van Nistelrooy – as well as a tall, physical forward posing an aerial threat and long shots – someone like Crouch or Ibrahomivic. Sometime both can play in the same side, but having 2 players with vastly different profiles would allow adapting the tactics to the opponent(‘s defenders) and would make our play less predictable.

    Currently our attacking assets are not specialized in headers: albeit PEA is 1.87m he often plays on the flank, and likes to create chances on his own. Nketiah’s 1.80 is not really an aerial presence, and Lacazette is considered pretty short for a striker with his 1.76m.

    From my post about Arsenal’s future PL-winning squad I did recommend to sign Erling Haaland, who is 1.94 which makes him a cm taller than Giroud (and interestingly not only dangerous with his head), but his profile, asking price, salary and his arrogant prick agent (Mino Raiola) makes him close to impossible to buy. So I use this opportunity to recommend 2 young forwards that would qualify as ‘beasts’.

    Gianluca Scamacca of Sassulo/Genoa is a further cm taller, and he already scored 34 goals for Italy’s youth international teams, but maybe even a better prospect is Alexander Isak of Real Sociedad is a master of headers (while a good finisher with his right foot too) and despite being 18 has already 18 senior caps under his belt. So if Arsenal is interested to extend the forward portfolio with a tall guy – and Haaland is out of our reach – I would recommend these 2

  • @TA, We have bought Nicolaj in the summer for this purpose i presume. Not sure how he has been performing for U23. But he is a bean pole of a striker and should give us some options.

  • Cheers PB,

    Don’t know them both. I do like the idea of Scamacca as that name could be the sound of a howitzer of a shot going in off the post 😜

    In general, Italians don’t settle well in the PL and I don’t really want another 18 year old as they are likely to be injury prone.

  • J.E.T. reference from OZ!
    …I occasionally lament the loss of Giroud, but overall I don’t regret it. He was a great servant to the club. Even though he was pretty he did the hard work all over the pitch.
    His catalogue of world class goals is really impressive and better than most much more expensive players, not to mention trophies. But I was one who thought he was a notch below Arsenal level strikers like a van Persie. I thought our creative players like Ozil could have used someone more pacey in general, but Ollie combined well with Alexis and everyone as a team player.
    To TA’s point, there are very few strikers who are top level in every aspect, pace, touch, power, size, heading ability. I think Aubameyang is good enough in most ways and not many are much better. Lacazette is not quite as quick for counters as I’d like, but a real professional striker. He did suffer this season with Arteta making him drop so deep. It didn’t work for him, and it didn’t work for the team.
    I also have to point out that Nketiah was totally misused similarly and hopefully not ruined value wise, or in confidence. If he played with Saka, Ødegaard, Emile, and the current versions of Pepe and Willian, we’d see a different Eddie. I’d feel a bit cheated if I was Eddie, or his agent.

    Thanks PB for the Adrian Clarke video. They showed a great view of the Pepe ball to Lacazette to win the game. Laca was not making a run, and in no way saw that coming… that ball was aggressive, I’d say an inspired pass. Credit to him.

    Even with Clarke trying to be positive, with all the possession and movement around the spuds box Sunday, those crosses were not productive, and thats putting it kindly. The simple proof is that we never came close to scoring from one, and one of the very few low crosses(to Ødegaard) resulted in a goal. Deflections, own goals, spills by keepers all are more likely at a higher %.
    It did seem like the crossing game plan/strategy was resurrected by Mikel for this match. I think we’ve generally seen its not great for us. I don’t want a different striker, I just want the game plan adjusted to our strength. We outplayed and out managed them and credit to Arteta for that.

  • Cheers J,

    I reckon the departure of Giroud meant also the end of Ozil, but that is for another post. Agreed re it being hard to find the perfect striker.

  • All good here TA. I hope you and the family are well.

    Personally, i think we have him already in martinelli. He is a pretty complete striker and versatile enough to play on the wings. Has been a bit unlucky with injury but he is fearless and has excellent timing. I haven’t seen a young forward like gabriel on our books in…well…forever. lord knows we’ve had our fair share of promising youth products only to have them fizzle into nothing. JET, jay simpson, akpom, aneke, watt…probably a few more.

    Looking pretty sharp here:

  • Madhu, Moller has gone through a bit of a dip in form recently which is normal as most young players do, but I think he played well in our last U23 game if I recall reading J.Bird correctly. The lack of quality and depth in our U23’s and coaching if that’s your belief, won’t have helped Moller technically, but character wise it will benefit him. I guess we’ll see for sure over the next 12 months?

    But I doubt that young Moller will be up to the level we need for the 1st team for awhile yet.

  • @TA

    I think the game has gone passed the one dimension strikers. You really have to be even across the board. I think we could get away someone like Martinelli leading the line given our style of play. While he is only 5’11 he has a fearless attack on the ball and has good positional sense. His heading technique is really good for someone of his height (remember the header against STL – beautiful). He’s also managed to score 3 of his 10 goals from headers. This is a good breakdown:

    https://pmanalytics.wordpress.com/2020/08/05/gabriel-martinelli-player-analysis/

    I really hope he can stay fit. He really is a complete package.

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