The majority of Arsenal fans have been concerned with the lack of ammunition the Gunners have up front. Wenger chose not to strengthen that area of the field in the summer, despite having only one recognised striker since the injury to Danny Welbeck.
Olivier Giroud is the current first choice front man who is under scrutiny from the Arsenal faithful. After following a long line of successful strikers at the club, the Frenchman’s inconsistent form has left the fans frustrated. Theo Walcott is another striking option for the club, however his attributes are applied more successfully down the flanks.
Despite their disappointment, there is still light at the end of the tunnel for Arsenal fans, in the form of Chilean Alexis Sanchez. The mood is more optimistic at the Emirates since the former Barcelona man’s hat trick against Premier League high-flyers Leicester City. This prematurely begs the question, do Arsenal need another striker?
[ffc-gal cat=”arsenal” no=”5″]
The goal-scoring burden needn’t be the sole responsibility of a striker. In fact many of the most successful teams of the past decade have lacked a recognised striker, and have instead relied on the abilities of a goal-scoring midfielder or winger.
For example, Germany won the World Cup in 2014 without a natural striker; their chief goal getter was Thomas Muller, a player who is used as a right midfielder for club Bayern Munich. The same can be said of Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have relied on Messi and Ronaldo respectively, for the majority of their goals, both of whom are not natural strikers.
Now I’m not putting Sanchez in the same bracket as Ronaldo and Messi, but it’s not a bad model to try and replicate. With the birth of the ‘false 9’ formation and a reluctance for managers to use two strikers let alone one, assisting goals is no longer the primary quality looked for in a good number 10. These days a truly great winger or number 10 is expected to score upwards of 20 goals a season. This is not a target beyond Alexis Sanchez.
Maybe, Wenger will buy a striker in January, although until he does, Arsenal fans should be happy with what they have already. The Gunners can boast of many attacking options, and if Giroud can score 10 league goals and Sanchez 20, then that would be a respectable combined total for any midfield/striker partnership.
Sanchez was a target for Liverpool before his move to Arsenal. Therefore if Liverpool felt the Chilean could replace the goals of Suarez, why would Arsenal feel the need to acquire an extra striker?
Arsenal have always been admired for their silky football, which is perhaps why Wenger has invested more in playmakers than clinical finishers. This trend may alarm Arsenal fans, however there is a growing tendency in the wide world of football to make goal-scoring a team effort, rather than the responsibility of a sole, superstar striker. This could result in the extinction of the traditional centre forward.
Sanchez represents a new kind of goal getter, a creator rather than a poacher. Arsenal may already have the best goal-scorer in the league and not even realise it.