Welcome to the final part in our pre-season squad assessment. Over the past three days we have cast an eye over our stocks in Midfield, Defence and Goal Keepers leaving us with todays look at our Forward options. With the Friday night game kicking off the new league season less than 48 hours away, we are all hanging out for things to get going asap. So without any further farting about, here are our Forwards.
Alexis – 28 yrs – Striker/Left Wing
The tip of the spear, Alexis topped off another fantastic season with 30 goals, 17 assists and the Arsenal Player of the Season award. Under a huge amount of speculation this summer as he enters the final 12 months of his contract, Wenger has made it clear on numerous occasions that he will not be sold this window. Given Alexis’ role within the team, it would be a massive blow to lose him and we would face a number of issues in trying to fill any gap left from his departure. A workaholic and demonstrative player, Alexis gets kicked up and down the park every week and still turns out world-class numbers. Currently listed as injured for the first 2 games of the season after only a short off-season break. Freak!
Olivier Giroud – 28 yrs – Striker
One of the GDU faves, Ollie played another significant role last season even though he found himself playing a supporting role from the pine, when Alexis took over through the middle. Scored crucial goals to salvage draws or win us games with regularity and bagged easily the best goal you’ll see from an Arsenal player in years with his effort against Palace. His positive spirit and high work rate make him a reliable option for Wenger when things need to be changed up. Faces additional competition from fellow Frenchman and new boy, Alexandre Lacazette. Handsome!
Danny Welbeck – 26 yrs – Striker/Left Wing
Took awhile to get back to first team action after managing a lengthy injury, but made a decent return through the cups bagging goals against Soton, Liverpool and of course United. Hasn’t been able to lock down an ongoing starting berth in the 1st XI, he does provide pace and athleticism drifting in from wide positions which can cause opposition defences a few issues. Still has some work to do on his finishing, this is probably the main thing preventing him from going onto that next level. Will play a supporting role in the league and should start most domestic cup games.
Lucas Perez – 29 today – Striker/Right Wing
Added to the squad late in the window last season after Jamie Vardy turned us down, Perez brought a direct dynamic into the team that many of us were excited about. Blessed with great pace and the ability to finish off attacking moves, he was probably disappointed with the amount of game time afforded to him during the year. Had an impact on the score sheet when he did play but lacked a little bit of the cohesion with his team mates that would have seen him used more often. Set to leave this summer after a fairly public outcry about his lack of opportunities, he looks likely to return to Spain should an offer come in matching our valuation of him after an outlay of £18m only 12 months ago. Gone!
Theo Walcott – 28 yrs – Right Wing
Became a centurion for the club last season and is also our longest-serving player. Moved back out to a role on the Right Wing following his underwhelming attempts at becoming 1st choice striker. Frustrates and excites in equal measures, he again reached double figures for goals but saw his role diminish after the switch to the back 3. A good lad with awesome pace, he looks likely to be set for a fight to reassure his place in the team. We’ve said it for years now and we would still like to see him add some tricks to his bag as he is too predictable on the ball. Could score a hatty and only see the ball half a dozen times for the day….
Alex Iwobi – 21 yrs – Right Wing/Attacking Midfield
Another of our young stars, Iwobi has natural talent in spades and loves to take the ball with him as he tricks and twists his way through opposition defences. We like the weight of his passing and his vision allowing him to play what appear to be difficult balls into players on the move. Wenger gave him a good run of games in the 1st half of last season before his form dipped and he went back to playing a supporting role. Should kick on again this season with another pre-season under his belt, his confidence will continue to grow as he sees more game time. We’d like to see his finishing improve as he has the positioning and movement to also get on the end of things. Jet!
Alexandre Lacazette – 26 yrs – Striker
Our new record signing comes to us after being on our watch list for a number of seasons and the back of yet another successful season in Ligue 1. Top scored at Lyon again and has a fantastic goals per game ratio making him one of the elite strikers in Europe. From what we’ve seen of him so far he looks direct, fast, skilled and pretty deadly….all pretty important attributes for the frontman to have. Should play an important role in the #9 position throughout the season with the likes of Ozil and Alexis around him to make things even more interesting. Watch this space!
Yaya Sanogo – Released
We will also be expecting Perez to depart and everyone will be waiting to see if we can stick to our guns with Alexis!
Alexandre Lacazette – £52m from Lyon
We have plenty of great attacking options which allow us to vary our style of play based on who we are playing or how a game is playing out. All the focus has been on Alexis and new boy Lacazette. It seems key to our fortunes that these two blokes are both fit and firing for us over the coming season and will be provided great competition from the others waiting to make the most of any opportunities.
Got any thoughts on our Forward line? Send us a tweet or comment on this post to kick off a discussion!
We’ll be back tomorrow with a preview of the 1st game of the season and what we should be aiming for over the course of the campaign.