Who should lead the line for Arsenal?

Who should lead the line for Arsenal?

Arsenal have a lot of issues to address this summer as they aim to finally put an end to their wait to regain the Premier League title. It will hurt Arsenal supporters and the current squad that Leicester City and rivals Tottenham are the two sides battling for the championship this season. It was certainly an opportunity missed, with many seeing Arsenal as the favourites for the majority of the campaign, but dropping points in crucial matches has once again seen the club drop off the title scene. A run of just 16 points from twelve matches post Christmas Day has seen Arsenal fall 11 points behind Leicester, with the club now needing a miracle to win the title next month.

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One prominent issue is their striking options and whether the ones at the club are good enough to make Arsenal a top tier club in Europe. Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck are both good players, capable of scoring goals, but neither have become the deadly striker that the club need. Meanwhile Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez are both able to play as a centre forward, but the former lacks the positional awareness, while the latter is a lot better on the wing. Arsene Wenger’s men have scored the fewest amount of goals out of the sides currently in the top four. Even West Ham have only scored three times fewer. Arsenal should have a much deadlier attack than West Ham and Leicester, but that hasn’t rung true over this season.

Over the last two seasons, since they have been the club’s main two striking options, Olivier Giroud has 26 league goals, while Danny Welbeck has 7. The Frenchman has made seven assists, which is superior to Welbeck’s three. Although the Englishman has missed a large portion of this season due to injury. Their goal involvement per minute is interesting to compare, with Giroud playing a part in a goal every 115.67 minutes. This is better than Welbeck, who is involved in a goal every 202.6 minutes. This shows that Giroud is a better forward than Welbeck in terms of numbers and is a good option to have if your focus is finishing in the top four. However, he doesn’t have the quality to guarantee 20 goals a season, which is what the Gunners need.

Arsenal need a striker who is able to hold the ball up and bring their array of attacking midfielders into the game, which suits both Giroud and Welbeck. The Frenchman creates a chance every 72 minutes, while Welbeck creates one every 63.3 minutes. This shows that Welbeck is slightly better at bringing the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez into the game, but his lack of goal involvement compared to Giroud makes him a worse option to lead the line.

In terms of their styles of play, Welbeck works harder than Giroud, and his pace gives Arsenal an extra dimension when they are attacking. Meanwhile, Giroud can be laboured at times, but he is very good in front of goal when chances come his way, and he has more of a presence in the opposition half. Neither have the aura of a world class player, which means that defences don’t fear them.

Arsenal need to address the issue this summer and bring in a striker from the top tier of European football. The likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have all been linked and have the proven goal record to make them improvements on the current options at the Emirates. Another player linked is Alvaro Morata, who although hasn’t got the record that Higuain and Aubameyang have, he is only 23 and has the potential to develop into one of the finest forwards in Europe. Arsene Wenger needs to spend big on his attack this summer to finally give his side the fear factor they have been lacking.