The Gunners legend believes first-choice forward Olivier Giroud can shoulder the attacking burden on his own for the rest of the season as long as he avoids a serious injuryEXCLUSIVE
By Liam Twomey
Arsenal can challenge for the Premier League title even if Arsene Wenger does not manage to sign a new striker in January, according to Gunners legend Nigel Winterburn.
Olivier Giroud, the man who has shouldered the attacking burden at the Emirates Stadium this season, is "90 per cent certain" to miss Saturday's FA Cup third round clash with Tottenham with illness and an ankle problem, while back-up Nicklas Bendtner will be sidelined for "weeks" with an ankle injury of his own.
Wenger has made the signing of a new striker his top priority in the January window, and last month Goal revealed he has compiled a five-man shortlist of potential targets.
But Giroud insists Arsenal do not need to bring in attacking reinforcements, and Winterburn believes the Frenchman can carry the fight alone as long as he avoids a long-term injury.
|40/1||Olivier Giroud is 40/1 with Paddy Power to be the Premier League's top scorer|
"They’ve gone a whole season with just Giroud and people are worrying about him getting injured because of the amount of games he’s got to play.
"We’re all guessing that playing a whole season as a lone striker will be very demanding and he’ll pick up an injury along the way that will keep him out for weeks or months, but that hasn’t happened yet.
"An additional striker would certainly help Arsenal, but just because they don’t bring somebody in doesn’t mean they can’t win the title.
"They’ve already proven they’re going to be there; whether they’re going to be good enough to sustain the challenge until the end of the season we don’t know.
"But they’re showing some good resilience and playing good football this season. They’re [top] on merit and they’ve played very well despite having a lot of injuries.
"I see them challenging right through to the end of the season."
Saturday's opponents Tottenham are resurgent under new head coach Tim Sherwood, taking 10 points from their last available 12 and beating Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Year's Day.
But Winterburn is dismissive of the notion that this is a bad time for Arsenal to face their bitter local rivals.
"You have to face every team no matter where it comes in the season," he added. "Derby games are like that. Even if Tottenham weren’t in good form it would still be a difficult game.
"They’ve got a new manager with different ideas and the players have responded very well to that.
"But Arsenal have been consistent and have a very good squad. I think it will be an exciting game."
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