As Arsenal prepare to face Manchester United at the Old Trafford, a lot of questions are being raised concerning the fitness of Gunners’ makeshift striker Alexis Sanchez.
The 27-year-old picked up an injury penultimate Chile’s last game of the recent international break, but he quickly shook it off, featuring in the last game before returning to the club in preparation for the high-profile match.
He is said to be fit for the clash, but should Wenger play him as his number 9 – which will see him subsequently drop Giroud as a result? Or should the French international be brought back into the starting XI and reinstated as the club’s first-choice striker?
Here are 3 reasons why Giroud has to start all the premier league matches from now.
Arsenal needs his aerial threats once again
While Sanchez has excelled in the makeshift role somewhat, his lack of height as he stands at 5 ft 7 in means Arsenal can’t dominate opponents in the air in the final third, while there are limited threats aerially during set pieces.
However, with Giroud who stands at 6 ft 4 in, Arsenal are an attacking threat aerially, with the French star being an excellent header from both open play or set pieces.
That makes the supplies of Monreal, Bellerin, Chamberlain and other good crossers of the ball more beneficial to the team’s cause. And thereby helping to create more goalscoring chances as a result.
That style of play has been one of Arsenal’s key weapons in attack anytime Giroud is on the pitch, and that gets to happen often until this term when his early injury kept him away from the lineup.
No other player in the top-flight has scored more header than the 30-year-old since he arrived the top flight.
So while Sanchez remains a great option in the role given his work rate, speed and excellent footwork; which all supersedes Giroud’s, the Frenchman remains a better option in terms of being linked up aerially and helping the team’s dominate games via the additional lethal threat he poses in set pieces.
Sanchez can still be as much as a lethal threat on the wings
Giroud’s return to the starting lineup won’t in anyway jeopardise Sanchez’s form in front of goal, and going by how explosive the South American has been thus far, moving back to the wings could even see him get better.
The last 20 minutes against Sunderland could have given a glimpse of what is likely to happen when both players return to their rightful respective positions.
Giroud immediately registered a brace upon his introduction, and Sanchez dropping to the left wing didn’t make the Chilean lose his newly-harnessed striking instincts, as he also found the back of the net for the second time in the game.
Perhaps, his brief stint as a number 9 could even be a blessing for himself, Giroud and Wenger if the French striker is reinstated upfront.
At the end of the day, Wenger would be playing with 2 strikers on the pitch, with 1 playing in the natural position and the other switching roles by bursting forward as a 2nd striker and dropping to the wings.
The only factor that hinders Giroud’s inclusion in the starting lineup wouldn’t have to be a hurdle again when the coach is able to take the necessary tactical measures.
The newly-found competition is bound to make him perform well
If there is a very vital reason to return Giroud to Arsenal’s starting XI, it is the awareness that he now has a direct and quality competition for his earlier-guaranteed starting berth in the Chilean.
Considering that he is now aware of Sanchez’s striking abilities – which are equal to his or even slightly better in some regards, Giroud is bound to give his best at every other time.
He has already declared that the club’s links with another top striker always keep him on his toes, but none has arrived thus far. Until his injury brought one out in Sanchez.
A dip in form and Wenger won’t hesitate to drop him to the bench with his new rival always ready to prove his worth as a makeshift number 9.
Nothing can be more inspiring.