Arsenal Focus – Forlon Giroud sparks striker hunt

Arsenal will not be too disheartened by their 2-1 reversal at Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. In parts, the Gunners worried Rafael Benitez’s side and were unlucky not to leave west London with a point.

However there are concerns about certain aspects of Arsenal’s game at the minute – particularly the ongoing feeble nature of their misfiring frontline. At the heart of that displeasure is the increasingly-forlorn looking figure of Olivier Giroud.

The French forward arrived from Montpellier in the summer for £12m, charged with the impossible task of replacing Robin van Persie’s goals at the Emirates Stadium. Having finished last season as the top scorer for Montpellier in Ligue 1, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger must have been quietly confident that Giroud would hit the ground running.

However Giroud has not settled. Six months into his Arsenal career, he has just six goals to his name. He has failed to nail down a secure place in Wenger’s starting XI and is far from the indispensable member of the squad that many expected him to be. Indeed, in recent weeks, Wenger has preferred to start with Theo Walcott as a central forward at the expense of Giroud.

Of course, he was never going to be a carbon copy of van Persie. Only two or three strikers worldwide could possibly live up to the Dutchman’s attacking exploits. But that should not stop supporters from questioning Giroud’s credentials. Against Chelsea, Giroud was anonymous for the majority of the game and missed an early chance which would have put Wenger’s men in the ascendancy.

But to be fair to Giroud, there are mitigating circumstances to his stuttering start at Arsenal. There has been a major lack of creativity in the red part of north London this season and as a result Giroud has been presented with a limited number of opportunities.

As well as that, the form of his fellow attackers cannot have had a positive effect either. Lukas Podolski has been a major disappointment despite starting the majority of matches while Ivorian winger Gervinho has also struggled to make an impression.

Giroud will be given time to improve his performances by Wenger but what his form does do is underline Arsenal’s need for reinforcements up front. Having been linked with Edinson Cavani this week, Wenger will most likely be sounding out more realistic targets too as he attempts to improve Arsenal’s chances of a top four finish.

Demba Ba, who signed for Chelsea this month, would have been an excellent acquisition for the Gunners and a striker of a similar ilk would not go amiss. Speculation remains muted though, suggesting Wenger will give his hit and miss French forward a vote of confidence for the time being.

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