If there’s one glaring intrinsic weakness in the Arsenal squad that will undoubtedly cost the Gunners this season, it’s their lack of depth in the final third.
Admittedly, most of the North London outfit’s goals come from midfield – in fact, only 12 of their 43 Premier League goals haven’t come from the middle of the park this season – but high-quality front men are the players who can make something out of nothing and turn defeats in to draws and draws into victories.
In-form Frenchman Olivier Giroud has been effectively leading the line this season, with nine goals and five assists in 20 Premier League starts.
But after that, the North London outfit’s striking depth is disturbingly thin. The 27 year-old’s only natural forward understudy is Nicklas Bendtner, who needs no introduction in regards to how average his goalscoring services are.
Just in case you’re not acquainted with the stroppy Dane’s reputation as a baseline-quality Premier League striker, it’s worth noting he’s scored just 24 times in 106 top flight appearances for Arsenal, with his North London stay spanning almost a decade this year.
Gunners fans will be quick to point out Lukas Podolski can operate up front, as he has done many times for Germany throughout his international career. But the winger-forward has lost a yard of pace since arriving at the Emirates in summer 2012 and has a tendency to remain fairly anonymous on the pitch unless he’s finding the net with one of his trademark left-footed finishes. He’s also only recently come back from injury, and has made just five Premier League appearances since the summer.
Arsenal’s only other option – unless Arsene Wenger plans on giving youngster Yaya Sanogo an unexpected run in the first team – was Theo Walcott, but the England international will now miss the remainder of the campaign and the summer’s World Cup after being stretchered off with an ACL injury against Tottenham.
Don’t worry though Emirates faithful, Wenger has recently revealed he’s considering playing Mesut Ozil up front, which will be a very… interesting… experiment.