Arsene Wenger started with Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott for the first time together on each wing against West Ham on Saturday which demonstrated our strength in depth in the forward line department.
After the lavish spending spree in the summer and given that our team visibly lacked pace last season, the thought of a front trio including Danny Welbeck, Alexis and Walcott was mouthwatering – especially when you add the assist king that is Mesut Ozil floating behind them.
But few things rarely work practically as they do in theory and perhaps the link play and stature of Olivier Giroud is vital with the amount of pace and off-the-ball movement we have in the side.
Against West Ham, the Frenchman showed how crucial he is to our play with his deft touches setting up the onrushing support from midfield which the Hammers defence couldn’t handle.
Arsenal transfer news
- [Match Highlights] Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle – All The Highlights & Best Bits
- [Player Ratings] Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle – Ozil Wonder Goal Saves Boring, Boring Arsenal
- [Confirmed Lineups] Arsenal v Newcastle United – Wilshere & Lacazette Start In 4-2-3-1
It maybe that Wenger has sensed he may have to chose different forward lines for when we play home and away.
Earlier on in the season, we struggled at home whilst Olivier Giroud was out injured in games we should’ve won, thinking back to the home draws against Spurs and Hull City, as well as games against Man City and Crystal Palace.
Teams defended deep and the likes of Welbeck and Yaya Sanogo were unable to replicate Giroud hold up play with their backs to goal which made our football both predictable and not efficient.
The upper-body strength of Giroud is also crucial as defenders are given a physical test as the Frenchman pins them down in order to interchange with other players, similar to the second goal against West Ham.
Away from home however, the pace of Welbeck maybe better suited to our play, but with a very different set-up as we saw following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s substitution at Old Trafford last week.
It seemed as though Aaron Ramsey coming into a midfield three and Ozil shifting out on the right gave us complete control of the game and one thing is for sure, Giroud wouldn’t have been able to punish Man United for that mistake given his lack of pace.
Teams tend to put intense pressure on us in midfield when we go away, but with Welbeck’s pace it forces them to drop ten yards back and invariably gives our midfield more time on the ball.
The most important game so far this season takes place on Tuesday night with a minimum of three goals needed which will go a long way to determining what Wenger sees as his most dangerous attacking lineup.
With only Chamberlain the obvious absence in terms of options for those forward positions, the boss will need to pick our most dangerous and efficient forward line as we will have to take every chance we create.