After 16 matches, Arsenal are second in the Premier League and sit just two points behind surprise leaders Leicester City. After a slow start to the campaign, Arsene Wenger’s men have picked up the pace and are looking in good nick ahead of the tricky festive period.
On Monday night, the Gunners will host Manchester City and victory will considerably enhance their title prospects. Anything less and questions will once again be asked of Wenger and his team.
Prior to the beginning of the campaign, Wenger came under intense scrutiny for his decision to not pursue a world-class striker. Although there were rumours of a late move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, nothing ever materialised and the Gunners were left with Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott leading the line. While that seemed like a major problem at the time, Arsenal haven’t had much trouble finding the net this season and Giroud in particular has started to shine in recent weeks.
The France international lost his place as Arsenal’s starting striker to Walcott at the start of the campaign but an injury to the Englishman in a Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday opened the day for Giroud to return to the side.
Since then, Giroud has scored eight goals in ten matches while Walcott has failed to find the net in his last three matches. The Frenchman is in great form and if he can maintain it for the remainder of the campaign, there’s absolutely no reason to suggest that he cannot be the man to lead Arsenal to their first Premier League title since 2004.
However, Giroud’s main problem is consistency. He’s scoring now but the Arsenal forward is also capable of going on a bad run of form as well – which is perhaps why he is valued at 14/1 in the football odds at the time of writing to finish as the Premier League’s top scorer this season. Arsenal may well win the title and Giroud’s goals will be crucial to their chances but they won’t be the defining factor. The Gunners have enough quality and talent in attack to cover Giroud if needs be and the likes of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez will challenge Giroud’s starting position when they return from their respective injuries.
Only time will tell but it looks as though Giroud will be Arsenal’s leading striker for the duration of the campaign. Wenger is keeping his cards very close to his chest, however, and it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see the Gunners move for another forward in January. Arsenal haven’t been involved in a genuine title fight for a number of years but this could be their season if they perform to their capabilities. It’s now more than ten years since “The Invincibles” went unbeaten and Arsenal’s supporters are desperate for a title success.
Is Olivier Giroud the man to lead Arsenal to the title this season? Yes, but only because of the close nature of the Premier League. In the future, the Gunners need a truly world-class talent upfront to ensure they have the best chance of winning the title. Only time will tell but, with a bit of luck and a firing Giroud, Arsenal are more than capable of going all the way and adding to August’s Community Shield victory.