Yes, its all about sports. twitter @sportsbasic
Alexis Sanchez came to Arsenal and there were games, earlier in the season, where he took the gunners by the scruff of the neck and dragged them to earn some valuable points. Was I surprised? No, not really. Alexis has shown his class in Barcelona and at international level for his country already. I was surprised that many football fans were surprised. Off late, teams in the premier league have been vary of Alexis and been much more tight and physical. Therefore someone else had to share the offensive burden.
There was a tinge of excitement in the stands as Theo become ready for first team action. As couple of seasons ago, Wenger has found out player and his agent being either too tough or rigid to negotiate with for new contract. Has that stopped him from being on the pitch more regularly? Your guess is mine as well. Do keep in mind he has come off a long injury lay off. Welbeck is industrious but lack of goals was the reason he was sold by Van Gaal. He has got into promising positions to score, at times, only to leave fans wondering.
For me, in the last month or so, the player who has been leading the line with distinction has been Oliver Giroud. 13 PL goals in only 14 starts this season is sensational numbers by any account. What really has changed? A lot has been said that the presence of Welbeck and Theo back from injury in the squad has made him pull up his socks and therefore more industry, more commitment and simply after that more goals. Agreed, competition is needed for places to push professionals but it’s not as simple as that in my eyes.
From the day Giroud came to Arsenal and till two months back fans and pundits, alike, were suggesting he is not suited to Arsenal’s style of play. He likes ball fed to him in a certain style & space to his feet and his link up play is not that good plus all that goes with criticising a striker. Fans know it all nowadays. Sometimes his performances did deserve criticism but not always.
Firstly his finishing has been great. I am sure this is expected from an international striker. Trust me this is not a gimme. I have been fortunate, off late, to spend time with one and he always stresses the importance of finishing skills. Giroud’s link up play near the box has been brilliant and no doubt this is one area of play which develops more as the team has stability within the midfield areas. The same mind set of the players to play ball to the feet combined with the hours and hours spent on the training ground doing the same drills together helps as well. The moment players understand each other’s movements, the link up play of teams like Arsenal becomes a treat to watch.
His ability to hold play has been improving for last two seasons. His ability with the ball in the air has always been something that has divided fan. This season he has scored 4 of his goals from headers and the second goal against Newcastle was an old school English striker’s goal. A goal where his upper body strength and ability to hold the defender off, combined with good header resulted in ball going towards target. Let us not talk about defender not marking his far post.
He can still improve on his defensive work. To help his midfield he can press from forward positions, something Alexis doesn’t get tired off. Definitely, something to learn from his peers. His industry will be much more appreciated by fans in the stands and couch, alike, if he improves his defensive play. He is good in the box while defending set pieces. He is physical and decisive. A lot of the fans think he is nowadays on the edge. My view is that he has understood the physical demands of the premier league and has learnt to give physicality back with compliments. Two or three ex-players come to mind who would say to me “Buddy no harm in that”. Who am I to disagree?
Still eight games to go and the decisive period where the final standings in the table are decided. For Gunners, it will be good if Giroud carries this form till the end of the season. Mind you, it will be great if both Giroud and Alexis are firing all cylinders. Potentially, 10 games to go considering we are in the FA cup semis. With FA cup ticket to Wembley bought, it is as always Up The Arsenal.