Arsenal face Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday as the form of Sturridge and Suarez serves as a reminder of their own deficiency up front.
The events of the latest January transfer window are what Arsenal fans have become only too accustomed to over the years. Following another disappointing performance in the transfer market, the lack of options upfront is becoming excruciatingly clear with the passage of every game.
The signing of Mesut Ozil on deadline day in the summer transfer window had overshadowed Arsene Wenger’s gamble to stick with a single established striker. However, it was assumed that the club would rectify the mistake in the winter. While the club had been linked with a horde of strikers in January, none of the rumours materialized.
The old adage that goals wins games holds true. Every successful club usually operates with at least two quality strikers. Manchester City’s striking quartet of Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic has been prolific in the Premier league.
At Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has made efficient use of the qualities of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o and has built his team accordingly. The duo of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has ensured that Liverpool are not only on course for a fourth place finish but remain in the title hunt as well.
Arsenal’s humiliating 5-1 loss to Liverpool and the latest draw to Manchester United have only served to highlight the glaring deficiency in their armoury – the lack of a quality alternative to Olivier Giroud.
Trusting Giroud to lead the line for an entire season was always going to be a massive risk. Though he started the season in fine goal scoring fashion, his form has waned of late. With 14 goals in 34 appearances this season, and with most of them coming in the first quarter of the campaign, it is evident that the Frenchman is running out of steam as the race for the Premier League heats up.
Giroud’s inconsistent finishing has been a cause for concern ever since his arrival at the Emirates and has cost Arsenal in crunch games. His performance against Manchester United at the Emirates in mid-week served as a reminder of his deficiencies in front of goal. He managed to get himself in great positions but once he got there, he lacked the finishing touch.
With Giroud being the only viable option for Wenger, it has also restricted Arsenal from employing different tactical approaches which would have been a crucial aspect when it came to breaking down resolute defenses.
In his defense, Giroud often does a fine job of linking-play between Arsenal’s horde of attacking midfielders, enabling them to play with the freedom and fluidity that they flourish in which is integral to their style of play.
Had Wenger succeeded in bringing in another striker, Arsenal could have had a genuine plan B which would have gone a long way in supplementing their bid for the title. Moreover, Wenger would have been presented with opportunities to rotate his squad resulting in a sharper and fitter set of players for the remainder of the season.
As Arsenal gear up to face Liverpool in the FA cup on Sunday, the mouth-watering combination of Suarez and Sturridge up front for Liverpool is something they will look upon with envy. Either one of them invariably gets the goals Liverpool need and are able to thrive even in the other’s absence.
Their electric performances have even propelled Liverpool back into title contention while Arsenal may pay the price for not having a suitable back up to Giroud. With Nicklas Bendtner supposedly due to face the Merseyside outfit on Sunday, that particular drawback seems all the more glaring.
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