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Giroud can be key to ending Arsenal's lack of balance

So far this season Wenger's side haven't been able to couple attacking returns with defensive solidarity, with one area suffering depending on their set up. Giroud has to be the man to help them regain that balance.

For a short while at the start of the season Arsenal looked they may have finally solved their defensive problems, with a run of clean sheets demonstrating a new compactness at the back that was largely credited to Steve Bould's addition to the coaching staff.

However in that initial period, Arsenal struggled to find the back of the net, with the result they gradually opened up as the season went on, with the latest result being the 3-3 draw at home to Fulham. In that match they clearly didn't struggle going forward, but were far too open at the back, allowing Fulham to come from 2-0 down to claim the draw.

This has been a pattern for their side this year, with Wenger struggling to set his side up in a way that they are able to threaten the opposition without becoming vulnerable themselves. It is clearly a problem that all sides face, look at the way Manchester United have shipped goals recently, but unlike Arsenal they have been able to produce enough attacking returns to still win matches. Even so, both sides need more balance, and for Arsenal Giroud can be central to that.

The Frenchman is now finding his feet in North London, with his brace against Fulham rewarding a good performance leading the line. What Giroud can bring Arsenal is the ability to hold up the ball and create an attacking threat even when a little isolated upfront. So far this season Arsenal have often committed too many players in attacking areas in order to create a threat, leaving their defence exposed.

If Giroud can maintain his form, Arsenal's midfield should be able to play a more defensive game whilst still carrying enough of threat going forward, with the likes of Arteta and Cazorla joining Giroud in the attack from a slightly deeper starting position, from where they can also offer better protection to the defence. Arsenal could also look at putting in a slightly more defensive winger for Podolski, with the German forward not looking keen to track back from his position.

If these changes end up taking Arsenal back to a situation where they look defensively solid but lack a threat going forward, then they still have the ability to revert to the style they had on Saturday, where they often had four players supporting Giroud from advanced positions. But if Giroud allows them to threaten the opposition with a more compact set up, they may be able to balance out the seesawing tendency of the side.

image: © ronnie macdonald

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