For all the talk of how beautifully Arsenal play the game, there is one very fundamental flaw in their approach – which has been highlighted in all three games they have played this season, with the exception of the Charity Shield victory over a largely second-string Manchester City side.
While there is no side in the county that is capable of keeping the ball like the Gunners, and the way that they piece moves together is up there with Barcelona in their pomp, at times they over play things and leave you screaming for somebody to take a shot. The simple fact is that without signing a world class striker before September 2 Arsene Wenger will struggle to gain a top four finish. Especially after releasing Lord Bendtner in the summer.
Make no mistake, I am not criticising the approach play, the approach play is wonderful but there comes a point where the ball simply needs to be put in the back of the net and the likes of Giroud and Yaya Sanogo aren’t going to score 20+ goals in a season.
The Gunners were largely uninspiring midweek against Besiktas, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Arsenal needed an Aaron Ramsey injury time winner against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season, and it was Aaron Ramsey again who kick started their late comeback against Everton on Saturday afternoon. Ramsey’s goal seemed to remind his team mates that they need to shoot if they were going to get any sort of result.
Instead, Arsenal seem largely content with looking to play tidy little triangles around the 18 yard box, poking the ball through the eye of the needle with limited success. Admittedly, when such a move comes off it looks absolutely sublime. However, this is probably only good for a goal or two a season. A prime example of this was Jack Wilshere’s goal of the season contender against Norwich last year.
The signing of Alexis Sanchez will bring more firepower to the Arsenal, but he will be predominantly deployed out wide. Arsenal will need to bring in at least one more striker before Jim White calls time on transfer proceedings in a few weeks time.
Mario Balotelli was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates at the start of the summer, but he appears to be very close to sealing a move to Liverpool. The price tag would have been right up Wenger’s street as well, £16 million is an absolute steal regardless of how clinically insane the Italian is.
The problem facing Arsenal at this late stage is who is realistically going to be available? Lewandowski, Diego Costa and Luis Suarez have all sealed big moves this summer so Arsenal will find the remaining talent either unavailable or at a premium.
Monaco’s Falcao and PSG’s Edinson Cavani have been linked with moves away from their respective clubs, but will Arsenal be willing to entertain the sums of money being touted for the pair?
More realistic targets would include Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez and Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. Both of these players aren’t first choice at their clubs and are already adapted to the pace of the Premier League. A signing like this would be beneficial as they would be able to make an immediate impact.
Whether Arsene Wenger acts or not remains to be seen. He suggested earlier in the week that he wasn’t planning on bringing in any further attackers to support Olivier Giroud. If not, it could be another frustrating season for Arsenal fans.