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One half of the remaining “strikers”

The final day of the transfer window has come and passed. All the anticipation over signings and we were left disappointed. There were plenty of deals being done all over the Premier League but none of the news came out from London Colney nor the Emirates or the Highbury House. We will go as we started the season.

I understand and share the frustration as the rest of the you in our inactivity. We have made good purchases early on but has since lost 2 players who were the core of our side. It’s disappointing because when we added the 3 players to our team, we looked to be building up a very good team who could challenge for title and trophies. It’s frustrating to us fans because we do see the potential in the team and likes previous season, another face or two would have seen us turn from a team with potential to a team of challengers.

There are many who cite this particular reason as why we’ve lost so many of our players in recent years. Them being disillusioned by the failure of the management to invest sufficiently in the squad. There are no seeking of wholesale changes to the squad, just an addition here and there to give us some squad depth or experience. Every season we have shown the potential that at our peak (and with the better players available), we are definitely a match for any side in the league or in Europe. Yet, we never consistently hit those heights because these players are never consistently available.

A squad goes through highs and lows throughout a season. There will be games when we looked absolutely world beaters and there will be times when we struggled even against the most obtused of opponents. Perhaps the outcome would have remained the same but it’s hard to argue that with just that little bit of extra option from the bench or from selection right from the start, that results could be tipped in our favour.

Let’s not beat around the bush. I’ve maintained all along that we still do have a very good footballing side, capable of matching up the best. But we have players who are still integrating into the squad and are playing Mikel Arteta (who has done well so far, it must be said) in a role that perhaps is not best suited to his strengths. The management and Arsene Wenger’s action could also lie in the fact that we’re confident on the long term health of our recovering players and the potential in some of the younger ones. However, the cause of our concern lies in the fact that we’re relying on the unknown factor as we would not know for sure how these players will perform after their long injury absence.

All said and done, it does look like our strikeforce is looking a little light. With the departures of Nicklas Bendtner to Juventus and Park Chu Young to Celta Vigo, we are left with only Olivier Giroud and Marouane Chamakh up front. I’ll touch on this in a bit. First, I’ve already said enough on Bendtner and all the best to him in Italy. Fair to say, nothing should faze him over there. As for Park, the move represent a chance for him to resurrect his career after a very mysterious move to our club. But it must not be forgotten that both are only loan deals and there’s every chance that we could be having the same discussion about them next year this time.

Above, I mentioned that there are only 2 strikers in our squad. That largely down to the formation that we use. Theo Walcott will not be effective as the single striker in the middle and neither will Lukas Podolski. Both, lacked the physical attributes to be successful in that system. Both (to me at least) is much more effective operating and coming in from the wide positions. If you take into account Chamakh’s form, then effectively we only have one dependable striker left, in Giroud. A striker who quite a few have already started doubting due to him firing blanks thus far (not that it is something which is bothering me, yet).

In simpler terms, we are one injury away from using a frustrating Chamakh or play the other two in the middle. If we are looking to challenge for the title, then that is not good enough. Has the goal post moved? The target for Arsenal at the start of every season should be to win the Premier League and or the Champions League. It’s not something which I take great pride in contemplating – that we are only aiming to stay in the Champions League spot. Which I don’t think we’ll lose out anyway. Reducing the ambition, if true, is more than an indication of how we have fallen behind in recent times.

All said and done, we have what we have and we can only make do with them until the next window arises. The disappointment are all well and valid but we can only do our part and hope that the team do theirs. When the match kicks off tomorrow at Anfield, the disappointment and frustration of these past few days have to be put to one side and give the team the best support than we can. I’m sure we can do at least that.

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