Arsenal attack’s injury crisis makes now the time to do a Barcelona
Arsenal lacked a wealth of viable alternatives to Olivier Giroud long before losing Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner to injury, yet despite an embarrassment of attacking-midfield riches they’ve yet to try a Barcelona-style centre-forwardless formation.
Scheduled for Monday evening televisual duties, the Gunners have extra time before their next game to ponder how they will cope in the absence of Walcott and Bendtner.
The former in particular had been in incendiary form since his return from a previous injury, scoring six goals and creating one more in six starts.
Meanwhile Olivier Giroud’s scoring contribution has all but ground to a halt with the Frenchman having mustered a mere three goals in his last 15 games for club and country.
With a prolonged period until their next outing and the beatable triumvirate of Aston Villa, Fulham and Coventry to play in their next three fixtures now is a good a time as any to push ahead with the false-nine experiment.
Who better to trial a new formation against than the Premier League’s second worst home team, with the Gunners 4/7 to exact maximum reward from the Villans in the midlands?
In terms of options to sit in front of Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta they have a wealth of players that can thrive in the grey areas between attacking midfield and forward status.
Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil and Serge Gnabry could all be utilised in a fluid attacking front four.
Ozil and Wilshere in particular have the combination of creativity, goal-scoring smarts and relish for a dribble that could see them operate in the false-nine role that former Gunner Cesc Fabregas has performed with aplomb for Barca this term.
The pair are 15/8 and 11/4 to notch at any time in their Aston Villa revenge mission respectively.
Arsenal have the FA fixture generator to thank for a kindly run of games in which to trial the system and Giroud to use if needs be.