Arsenal players and fans are excited at the arrival of former Barca winger Alexis Sanchez but the arrival of the Chilean has cast doubt on the place of current striker, Frenchman Olivier Giroud in the team. The Frenchman was accused times last season of not been lethal and competent enough to lead the line for the Gunners and Le Prof could be set to replace him with the Chilean who seems more pace and lethal in front of goal. Wenger has cast doubt on that possibility as he revealed the position he intends to deploy Sanchez.
“The fact that he’s efficient, the fact that he’s good off the ball,”
“He runs at people with the ball and he’s a very versatile striker.
“He can play through the middle, he can play on both flanks and he has the qualities that I think are needed in England. He’s brave, works hard and all these qualities together made me go for him.
“At the moment he might play on the flank because Walcott is injured. As well [he can play] through the middle in some games; we can play with Giroud, we can play without Giroud in a 4-4-2 or in a 4-3-3.
“That’s why he is a major signing for us [and] that’s why we spend a lot of money on him. He has the quality to be efficient everywhere he plays.”
Interesting thoughts from Wenger and an eye-opener, it is obvious that Wenger by going for Sanchez intends to kill many birds with just one stone. In Sanchez, Wenger has gotten a player that can replace Walcott and that corrects the mistake of last season. Arsenal did not have a replacement for the English winger and once he went out injured mid-way into the season, Arsenal lost all he brought into the team; pace and eye for goal. In Sanchez, Arsenal now has a player that can alleviate the burden of Walcott’s loss. Wenger also hinted Walcott could be missing the start of the season by saying Sanchez could play on the right since Walcott is still injured.
The Frenchman also revealed where he would play when Walcott returns. By saying he can play on either wings, Wenger is indicating that he might choose to deploy him on the left where his pace combined with Walcott’s could see Arsenal having breath-taking pace on both wings.
Despite landing Sanchez, Arsenal is still in the market for a striker but should they fail to get one, Sanchez could play that role. I doubt if Giroud would drop off to the bench but unlike last season when he didn’t have real competition since it was rookie Sanogo that was competing with him but now, he has real competition in Sanchez. With the Chilean breathing down his neck, the Frenchman cannot afford to slow down or go complacent if he is to keep his place in the starting line-up. From Le Prof’s words, it is obvious that Wenger could also use him as a competition for Giroud in a bid to get the best out of the Frenchman.
Finally, Sanchez is going to bring versatility to Arsenal’s formation. In the past, Arsenal has stuck rigidly to 4-3-3 and 4-5-1 formation but with Sanchez now in Arsenal’s fold, Wenger can finally make the long awaited return to a 4-4-2 formation. The former Barca forward could play alongside Giroud or Walcott at the central forward role. Switching to 4-4-2 is long overdue for Arsenal and Sanchez could be the key to bringing it back.
Sanchez is top quality. Everyone can see it and Wenger has attested to it. Hopefully, he would provide the final push needed to land the Premier League trophy.