Do Arsenal need to sign a real winger to get the best out of Giroud?

Giroud Arsenal

On paper, Arsene Wenger has plenty of wide attackers to call on in his current squad, but nearly all of the, prefer to drift inside, and Arsenal so far have not exploited the Frenchman's ability in the air as a result.

Given that Arsene Wenger conjured up perhaps the best striker of the Premier League era by converting Thierry Henry from a winger into a central forward, he could be forgiven if he refused any advice about how exactly to use the wingers he has available in his current squad.

However perhaps a little as a result of the success he had with Henry, the Arsenal team is now proliferated with wingers who seem to prefer drifting inside into the centre of their attack. Theo Walcott almost left the club partly as a result of his dissatisfaction with his right win role - a position he has incidentally ending up back in since signing that new deal - and Lukas Podolski also would prefer to play in the centre.

Gervinho, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have all also started on the flank of the attack at some stage this season, with each naturally drifting infield rather than staying out on their flank. Even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has said that he would one day like to play in the centre of midfield.

All of which is mostly fine, these players cut inside and Arsenal try and use their full backs to add width going forward. But one man who doesn't seem to fit this system is Olivier Giroud, whose heading ability is largely redundant given the lack of accurate crosses coming into the box. Even when they stay wide, Walcott, Podolski and Gervinho are not delivering consistent service to the Frenchman, and it seems to be a waste of his ability.

Perhaps this could be addressed this summer if Arsenal went into the market for an out and out wide player, rather than someone who aspires to play through the centre. One of the reasons for Chamakh's poor spell at Arsenal (and it should be clear that the main reason is that is not good enough for Arsenal) was that his strengths did not fit the system he was played in.

Giroud is a better all-round player than Chamakh, and has contributed well this year, but could get more goals for the side if paired with a traditional wide man or two, content to swing balls into the box rather than try and score themselves. If, for example, Antonio Valencia is made available by Manchester United this summer, Arsenal should do everything they can to sign him.

image: © ronnie macdonald

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch