Does Wenger already have a replacement for Olivier Giroud?

How to replace Olivier Giroud?

The French word for Marmite would surely be ‘Giroud’, if they were ever converted into eating the dark, divisive substance. Many love him and many do not, but there is little doubt that the man who scores or assists in the PL every 110 minutes will once again lead the line in the coming season. And this is not because he is the best CF available, but because he is the best CF for Arsene’s system of football. The man who worked with some of the best attackers in world football knows what a typically good CF looks like, and I have no doubt he could get us one in no time – and one you and I would probably hardly or not have heard of. But he, like Deschamps, has opted for Ollie as his ‘Holding CF’, which I have explained on this webblog many a time.

The big question to ask is what will happen if Giroud gets injured? Who should replace him?

For me there are five options – and it would be good to discuss these on this blog today:

  1. Alexis
  2. Sanogo
  3. Akpom
  4. Another internal option
  5. Buy Buy Buy


Theo has said he wants to focus on playing on the right wing from now on but it remains to be seen whether Arsene wants him there. But with him saying he is no longer confident he can be a good CF, Wenger needs to look at his next option up front. I reckon Alexis would be a good shout to play as our CF but it would mean a change of system. He would fit the false nr.9 system (1-4-6) or being played as ‘an Aguero at Man City’. Alexis would fit this free CF role really well, and I have no doubt he can reach 20+ PL goals in a season. It is unlikely that Wenger will opt for this unless he has to, though, as it would mean it big change in system.


Yaya is young and raw but he is our best option to play in the Giroud role. His positional awareness is very good and his body strength is already impressive. He can play as our attacking pivot around whom the attack can function at its best. We all know that his finishing needs to improve dramatically, and it would be unwise to bank on Sanogo covering for Ollie if he were to get seriously injured at this stage. But the big advantage is that we can continue to play the same system of football albeit less effective.


Chuba, who will be 21 in two months, is talented and the more classical CF option. There is a bit of Ian Wright in Akpom and I like him a lot. We need to see more of him to judge whether he can make the significant jump to the first team, especially if he were to cover for Ollie in case of a long-lasting injury. The jury is still out and it would be a big risk on Arsene’s side to believe he can be our ‘nr.2’. On the other hand, he might grab the opportunity with both hands and be a big success.

Another internal option

Is Takuma Asano the right one for us? You tell me! 🙂 Or should the Ox be played as our CF, a suggestion JNYC made yesterday? Can you think of anybody else who could cover effectively for Giroud in case of injury?


Or is the one and best option buying a super CF or just good cover for Giroud: do we have to go external? Clearly, a super CF will want to play all the time and will not accept to be second best to Ollie. This would mean a change of system of football in all likelihood, and I reckon this is not on the cards (especially at this late stage of our pre-season). Good cover for Ollie, ideally somebody who can also play on the wing, seems to be the most likely option Wenger will take. But has he left it too late, and how many players are prepared and capable to play the ‘Holding CF’ role? Or will he go for an internal option?

What do you think fine fellow Gooners?

By TotalArsenal. 


Our best attack against Man City: Theo, Ollie or TheoOlliegy?


This is THE question I have been thinking about this week: should we start with Ollie up-front and Theo as an impact attacker from the bench, or vice versa; or should we play them both as we did against the sorry Greeks last week Wednesday?

We are not under huge pressure to win this one, as in having to close a big gap between them and us. So we can relax a bit and play with focus and passion to get a win and leave all three points at Ashburton Grove, rather then be all tense and desperate to beat them at any cost, which so often has ended in failure.

The defence and central midfield pick themselves for this one, given the injuries and quality players we have available for the key positions. A week’s rest is just what the doctor ordered as well, so I am not worried about these two areas. Ozil is a given and if sexy Alexi is back he will play too; if not, we can play Campbell or the Ox, or even both. But the big question is whether to play Ollie or Theo up-front.

I guess this depends on Arsene’s tactics. Do we sit back and invite pressure, basically let Man City play football and then beat them from rebounds and counters; or do we plan to dominate them in midfield and not let them get into their game? If we sit back, we could do with Theo’s speed to get behind the defence and help us capitalise on our fast and deadly counter-attacks. But if we would like to make the play, we need Ollie to hold on to the ball and give the midfielders an outlet for the ball whilst they get closer to the City’s box.

You could also argue that IF we want to dominate Citeh and not let them get into the game, we need both, Theo and Ollie: the Englishman will likely force the defence back as they will be scared of his, and possibly Alexis’, electric pace; whereas Ollie will give the midfielders an important holding point to produce their deadly triangles with. Ollie also offers more goal threat in the box, especially from set-pieces and crosses from the wings.

The risk of playing them both is that Bellerin could become quite exposed in our right back area. We are more solid with Hector Vector working with Ramsey, or even Campbell, than with Theo, even though he has improved his defensive abilities and willingness to help out recently. Of course, the presence of Theo on our right wing will force the Man City full back to stay behind a lot, which will ease the pressure on our young Spanish full back; but we might not get the balance right, which could be costly.


Maybe a front-three of Alexis (Ox) – Theo – Campbell will give us the best balance against a team that likes to attack and is very much capable of dominating possession. On the other hand, Ollie is in great form and gives us more control in midfield and focus in attack…

The idealist in me says we should go for the godly solution of using both Theo AND Ollie: beat the Northern Oilers with TheoOlliegy and play some lovely football in the process; but the insurance broker in me says, play with either of them and use allround midfielders/attackers on the wings to keep the balance right and not allow our fellow title contenders to find a chink in our armour…

Not an easy one for Wenger to decide on, but what would you do?

By TotalArsenal.