While the lack of a defensive midfielder and another centre-back is also an issue for Arsene Wenger, it’s no secret that Arsenal fans are still crying out for a 20+ goal a season striker to help turn this squad into genuine title contenders. But with the season now well underway, Gooners aren’t quite screaming from the rooftops about Wenger signing a new forward in January. The lack of depth in defence has been highlighted by the prospect of Laurent Koscielny spending some time on the sidelines, and the issue of a lack of a defensive midfielder remains as strong now as it has done for over a year.
So while Arsenal fans would still desperately love to see a Karim Benzema or a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar walk through the Emirates doors in January, they’d probably be happier to see a Mats Hummels or a Sami Khedira-type signing for the club. The deadline day arrival of Danny Welbeck more than made-up for the loss of Olivier Giroud to injury, and the England striker has so far more than taken his chance to impress the Arsenal fans. While the loss of Giroud was a blow to Arsenal at the time, the arrival of Welbeck has given Arsenal’s offence a new dimension and possibly made them more dynamic.
With Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and a fit-again Theo Walcott in attack, the Gunners currently look extremely strong going forward – and that’s before throwing Lukas Podolski, Joel Campell, Serge Gnabry and Yaya Sanogo into the mix. With Giroud expected to be back in action by January to add to Wenger’s attacking options, it doesn’t look as though a lack of goals will be something for this side to worry about. The hope will be that current strike-force can do enough to ensure that Arsenal are still in the title race by the time Wenger has a chance to address the obvious weaknesses in his squad.
Let’s take a closer look at just how well Arsenal’s forwards are doing, and whether the current crop are good enough to not only fire the club into the top-four again this season, but possibly even push the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in the title race and give punters something to think about.
Since making the reported £35 million move from Barcelona to Arsenal in the summer, Alexis Sanchez has wasted little time in establishing himself with the Gunners faithful. The Chilean forward’s goal in the qualifying round of the Champions League ensured his transfer essentially paid for itself, and since then Sanchez has continued to shine for his new club. With two league goals and two Champions League goals to his name already, Sanchez has also shown what a team players he is, linking up extremely well with the likes of Ozil and Welbeck. The goals will come for Sanchez and the signs are that the Gunners have pulled off a great bit of business with the Chilean.
The question surrounding Danny Welbeck was whether or not he was good enough to play as the lone striker in a top side. Since his arrival at the Emirates on deadline day, Welbeck has gone about proving his doubters wrong – opening his account for the club against Aston Villa before scoring the first hat-trick of his career in the recent 4-1 hammering of Galatasaray in the Champions League. With Giroud sidelined through injury, Welbeck now knows he has a decent amount of time to truly cement himself as Arsenal’s main man.
On the back of an impressive season for Arsenal last year, Olivier Giroud started the new campaign as he finished the last, only for his early progress to screech to a halt after he suffered a broken tibia against Everton in August. The striker was initially expected to be sidelined for four months, and if Giroud could return to action any time before Christmas it would be a real result for Arsenal. But there certainly isn’t a massive for Wenger to try and fast-track the France international. Having Giroud back in contention will be a huge boost to the Gunners, however, and it would strengthen the case that Wenger’s focus needs to be on adding to his defence in Janaury.
Now back in full training after his serious knee injury at the beginning of the year, Theo Walcott’s return to the first team couldn’t have come at a better time for Wenger. With Mesut Ozil injured until at least Christmas, Walcott looks set for an extended run in the team when he finally earns a recall to the side. Before his injury last season, Walcott had looked to be playing his best football. While he might not get to play in his favoured central role, he will bring a clinical cutting-edge to the right or left of this Arsenal attacking unit.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an Arsenal fan who feels Lukas Podolski has fulfilled his potential at the Emirates since arriving two years ago. The German has barely featured for Arsenal this season, not starting a Premier League match and spending just 37 minutes on the pitch. Last season was a similar story for Podolski, and the 29-year-old has begun to make his feelings known ahead of the transfer window. With a possible move to Inter Milan in January, it might be that we’ll just never see the best of Podolski in an Arsenal shirt.
The Costa Rican star has returned to Arsenal after two years on loan but is still yet to really make his mark at the Emirates. On the back of a sensational World Cup showing, many had expected the 22-year-old to have been given a much larger role than he has. His one start came in a largely underwhelming League Cup performance against Southampton, and it remains to be seen whether or not Campbell will be given another chance to impress before January. It’s a shame things don’t appear to be working out for the forward – especially after his performances in Brazil last summer – but Wenger may see now as the time where he lets the youngster look to make a career elsewhere despite his obvious talent.