Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Arsenal FC: Why Wenger Needs to Find a Selfish Striker Like Javier Hernandez

The difference between Manchester United and Arsenal has not been much in terms of points but the Red Devils have managed to secure the title is due to their mentality. Sir Alex Ferguson has instilled belief in his team that they can win any game until the final whistle is blown which ensures that they fight till the very end.

Manchester United were very dependent on Wayne Rooney in the previous season but he was in horrible form till he excelled in the second half of the season where he played behind Javier Hernandez on a number of occasions. Though the Red Devils did miss the superb skills of the English striker, the strike force of Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez ensured that the stayed in the title race.

Hernandez has been applauded by many experts and pundits and deserves all the plaudits that he is receiving. He has been prolific for United scoring 20 goals this season, which is more than the likes of Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres. The Mexican striker is undoubtedly a superb talent and under the tutelage of Sir Alex, he has developed into a fine player with a lot of confidence.

It is easy to see that he is generally not a player who will dribble past players to score sensational goals. He is an intelligent player who knows his limitations and uses his positioning sense and pace to superb effect. The Mexican striker has a good technique and has great composure in front of goal but what is more noticeable is that he has the selfishness required to be a superb striker for the future.

Though being selfish is not always considered a positive attribute, strikers should be selfish to a certain extent and that helps them play to the best of their abilities. Hernandez does not try outrageous shots but if there is an opportunity that he could score, he has not been afraid to shoot instead of trying to pass the ball. Chicharito seems to be an opportunist who desires to score more goals and that is exactly why he has played in many matches for United this season.

Arsenal were very competitive this season and even managed to beat the Red Devils and Chelsea this season but they could not sustain their title challenge till the end. Robin van Persie to thank for his superb goalscoring form in the latter half of the season, scoring 20 goals having managed to play very less number of games this season due to injury.

However, the rest of the Arsenal team have not been prolific and for a team that creates as many chances as the Gunners, they should be scoring more goals regularly. The Gunners have developed a tendency to pass the ball in the box in order to find the perfect team-mate instead of one of the players taking an opportunistic shot.

Theo Walcott has developed this practice of shooting when he has the option and it has paid rich dividends for the winger who has had his best Arsenal season with regard to the number of goals that he has been involved in. The Gunners have many creative players like Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie and do create the opportunities.

As good as van Persie is, he is a player who will not stay in the penalty area for the majority of the time. He is sure to drift into wide areas and he enjoys creating opportunities as much as scoring goals. But when he does drift wide and provide useful balls, Arsenal do not have a player who can make the most of the opportunities created by Van Persie and the rest.

The Gunners signed Eduardo who seemed to be the perfect striker for Arsenal till his injury and it was because of his ability to get into excellent positions and ability to finish clinically. Similarly, Arsene Wenger needs to sign a player, with characteristics similar to Javier Hernandez, who will be selfish in front of goal and can be prolific for the Gunners.

Wenger will need to change his tactics to accommodate the striker but it will mean that Van Persie will be playing in his favoured role just behind the striker and can be integral to the team in the 4-4-2 formation. One of the problems that Arsenal have faced in the recent past has been that their opponents have worked out a way to counter their style of play and having fluid formations could be a tactic which could be used to counter this.

The signing of Javier Hernandez was arguably the best signing of the season and it is his goals which has given United a huge boost this season. Though Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh are talented, they have not been prolific throughout their career and with the Dane likely to move on this summer, Wenger should look to sign a prolific striker who will be opportunitistic when it comes to scoring goals.


Jamrock Rover said...

I was considering writing something on the very same subject. When Cesc hasn't played recently it has been noticeable how far back RVP has dropped to collect the ball and he might well thrive in a Bergkamp role.

Vijay Murali said...

Yeah, glad you agree on that... Yeah, Van Persie has excellent vision but Arsenal need someone in the box to score...when Cesc plays, RVP is not starved of service and is happy to stay on the edge of the box but without Cesc, he has often dropped too deep though he has been quite effective like the through ball to Nasri against bolton which he missed...

Satish said...

yup.. but "selfish" is not exactly the word.. its called "striker's instincts" which is naturally to go for it.. and hernandez is a proper poacher..

Vijay Murali said...

Yeah, I know it could be interpreted like that.. It is basically that every striker needs to be "selfish" in order to be successful..

You have heard of Paisley.. he was of the opinion that initially Rush was not "selfish" enough and did not score enough... Thats the context I have used it here..

Brian said...

We have to get HULK and HAZARD and a CB. HULK will provide the scoring quality we need to take the pressure off of RVP. Hazard will provide tremendous versatility and Fabregas's future replacement.

Vijay Murali said...

Yeah agree but Hulk is not my preferred choice really.. He is a decent player but I would like Arsenal to sign Higuain/benzema/Falcao who can add real quality..

having said that, I only expect to see Gervinho at Arsenal.. Hazard would be gr8 but with Gervinho set to leave, Lille will be keen to hold on to Hazard..

Thanks for commenting.. :)