Wenger looking to find balance of formidable forward options

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Arsene Wenger says the forward options he has this season are the best he’s had in quite some time, but that finding a way of balancing them is the challenge he faces.

To be fair, it’s a much better and more interesting challenge than ‘Who the hell am I going to play there?!’, and after a trio that never played together before bagged all 5 goals and 2 assists in the 5-0 win over Southampton on Saturday, the Arsenal manager was purring about the depth of his squad.

“You look at Pérez and Walcott and Danny Welbeck, and I have Sanchez on the bench as well, that exceptional quality,” he said.

“For a long time we have not had that offensive quality available. The problem will now be to find the right combination and use them well in games, without destroying the balance of the team.”

Wenger also has Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil to consider, regular goalscorers this season, as well as the likes of Alex Iwobi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain chipping with almost 10 goals between them too.

It’s an exciting line-up of attacking talent, so it’ll be interesting to see how he uses them in the weeks ahead.

You can find all the latest player stats on our dedicated stats page, but here’s what they’ve produced so far.

Alexis Sanchez – 17 goals, 11 assists

Theo Walcott – 14 goals, 2 assists

Olivier Giroud – 10 goals, 3 assists

Mesut Ozil – 9 goals, 7 assists

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 goals, 6 assists

Lucas Perez – 6 goals, 6 assists

Alex Iwobi – 4 goals, 3 assists, 2 OGs forced 😉

Danny Welbeck – 2 goals, 1 assist (1 start)

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GUN
GUN

We just need a bit of consistency.

Arsepedant
Arsepedant

Our recent form is WWDWWWW. Can’t get much better than that.

If you want to look back further, in our last 47 matches in all competitions (and to be fair, that includes pre-season), going back to the end of last season, we are 32-11-4. That’s pretty consistent!

Lula da Gilberto
Lula da Gilberto

It’s exactly what we wanted for ages. Goals from a diversity of attacking players. Hopes the Ox stays fit and gets into double figures for both this year. It’d be a good way to put the last few years behind him.

Arsepedant
Arsepedant

We could conceivably have as many a seven players in double figures by the end of the year!

John Griffiths
John Griffiths

Seems to me that the Ox could turn out to be Santi’s successor instead of being considered as a forward. If so, does Jack have an Arsenal future. Sadly not, I think!

ontheup
ontheup

How much do you think JW would be worth? I find it hard to evaluate our own players’ worth. For instance Walcott is worth 5 pounds one game then the next I wouldn’t sell him for 100m. A little bit of an exaggeration but you get the point. So Jack? Curious to hear everbody’s thoughts.

John Griffiths
John Griffiths

I think Jack will be one of those players whose ‘promise’ will never be fully realised. His value will depend so much on whether thinks they can unlock the talent he is supposed to have AND keep him injury free. £25m or £1? He’s obviously a gig gamble for someone!

Ponsonby gooner
Ponsonby gooner

I feel like Jacks been sold already. Would be surprised to see him in an Arsenal shirt again.

Arsepedant
Arsepedant

Sadly, that may be true. I still hold out hope that he’s not gone.

Anthony
Anthony

This is part of the problem we have with Jack. We’ve not been able to see him consistently for a number of years now, which makes assessment of him limited.

We can all remember those moments of brilliance – such as THAT goal against Norwich – but, and its with greatest respect to the lad, other players have had moments of brilliance for us and have been moved on.

We’d all love it if Jackhas a great season at Bournemouth, comes back with a really good, solid preseason for us and then kicks on from there with us.

In terms of valuation? Suppose minimum would be around the 20m mark – if Danny’s fee is anything to go by (we paid around 16m) – and anywhere up to 30-40m. Whether we can command the upper side of that given his history who knows – hopefully he returns a la Coquelin rather than a Bendtner.

benkamp
benkamp

I dont think arsene wants to sell jack. I also dont think he will unless jack forces the issue. Hes put a lot of time into him and faith, it made sense for him to go really, he needed to basically play for a team that he didnt need to give 110% for everygame at the start of the season so he could gradually build himself up. He couldnt play at 80/90% for us and keep a regular spot in the team with the options we have. But when he is match fit he will be given games by wenger because he loves him. Id be more expecyed to se ramsey sold, his injuries arent impact based, they are recurring muscular. And beside one amazing season has seemed a fairly run of the mill player. I like him, but hes just not very effective for arsenal.

Dawn
Dawn

Agree re Jack and disagree re Rambo!

Fabulous
Fabulous

Before his injuries and the arrival of a certain Ozil, Jack was our go to guy in almost every game that season. Whenever he has an off day the whole team plays badly. His season was epitomized when he had to come off the bench against Swansea in an FA cup tie I believe to score a cracker, volleying off a Giroud layoff. Ozil came and Jack was shifted to left wing (which I feel is odd) but didn’t do too badly. Since his injuries and since Hodgson started playing him deeper in midfield he looks good (especially on international duty), and from all those said above I firmly believe Jack should be kept. His Bournemouth loan looks to be achieving our adjective of giving him game time and staying clear of injuries. Cazorla is getting older and is also injury prone, and quite frankly Jack looks to be most capable among our rank to fill that gap, i.e. our technical assurance in midfield; keep the ball in tight spaces and building up play from deep. Unless we can get Verratti or hate to say it, Dembele or Fabregas. The way Wenger sets his team up that position is sorely crucial, more evident with our win rate with and without Cazorla in the team.

Papyrus
Papyrus

I liked your comment but no way we are getting Fabregas back. That’s classic one step forward three steps backwards.

Fabulous
Fabulous

Appreciate it, glad someone felt the same about Jack. However I tend to agree, although Fabregas looks good I won’t want him anywhere near our team, what with morale already at a high. If we can get Veratti or Dembele though, the latter mostly to make Sp*rs twice the shite they already are.

Arsepedant
Arsepedant

Any two of Coquelin, Wilshere, Xhaka, and yes, Oxlade-Chamberlain would be fantastic as a midfield pairing after Cazorla has retired. I hope Cazorla still has a good season or two left in him, though, because he’s amazing!

AB
AB

Jack is English, young and plays at a big club. He must be worth 35-40 mil in this market.

Trez
Trez

Perez needs to be used more!! I dream of a front 3 of him, Alexis and Welbeck/Walcott. We’d destroy teams on the break. Thank goodness we got him over Vardy. He’s more technically gifted than that one season wonder.

Granit(e) hard!
Granit(e) hard!

A formidable line up of attacking talent indeed, in fact there is a goals threat through out the squad all the way to the backline, given that our regular midfield (Ramsey, Xhaka, Cazorla, Elneny Wiltshere etc) can all score and our regular back line (Mustafi, Koscielny, Bellarin, Gibbs/Nancho, all of which can also score, you can understand why there is a lot of goals in this squad when they are playing well.

Anthony
Anthony

Even Per will get you s goal or two, at crucial moments throughout the season.

Good problem to have for the manager!

Liam Bergkamp

Wenger needs to work on Cech’s strikerate

An Ox-sized Coq
An Ox-sized Coq

Well Per does love himself a little goal celebrating against Sp*rs.

Delford Magaya
Delford Magaya

If Wenger find the right balance in attack, even our bench will be fine, whoever start, we welcome him to score goals, there is a chance to win games if they all remain fit and score goals.

Mootilated
Mootilated

We’ve been here before. I don’t want to sound too negative but once they prove they can put this performance in against a top level first XI then we have to start purring over our squad depth. Until then, I will remain cautiously optimistic.

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

PLAY ALL OF THEM DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT KOSCIELNY’S GOT THIS

Eddie
Eddie

That line up against Southampton was packed with pace! I just looked right at the beginning and smiled

Jim wall
Jim wall

Team against watford…
Cheq
Bell. Kos. Mustafi. Monreal
Coq. Ox
Wallcott. Ozil. Wellbeck
Sanchez
Subs…ospina.Gabriel.Gibbs.Ramsey.
Iwobi.Perez.giroud..what a squad

RodZz
RodZz

I’d be tempted to put Perez instead of Welbz. Perez deserves a start after what he’s given the team

Jim wall
Jim wall

Yes agree with you ,with wellbeck out so long it would be dangerous to start him twice in a couple of days,but definitely 20 or 30 minutes,great competition now between Walcott..perez..Sanchez..giroud..wellbeck ..iwobi.. pick any 3 from that 6 and you would be confident of beating any team …on a different note I think its time to play the ox instead of Ramsey ,apart from cazorla ,the ox is the only midfielder who can run with the ball from midfield..

David
David

How many starts has Lucas had? 6 goals and 6 assists sounds incredibly good, based on the number of starts/appearances I think he’s had… Or am I wrong? I’m anyhow very impressed by him.

Nullvinho
Nullvinho

We should have bought Vincent Janssen!! Wenger has no idea!! He’s bought some nobody from Spain, for 18 million?!? He’s got… Oh

Magunje
Magunje

I would prefer Danny than perez

Shank

Walking around Munich yesterday……….there was a serious pong of scared shitless in he air!!

Public Elneny Number One
Public Elneny Number One

MOIST

Churchil Msira
Churchil Msira

Wenger to employ the 4-3-3 format,using Ozil,xhaka and Ox in the midfield with Perez,Walcott and Sanchez in the front,,,, Giroud and Danny being super subs

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

It’s the midfield where we don’t quite seem to have the same choice of obvious winning combinations. Attack takes the piss now and defence is not half bad either.

Strange since it’s usually the other way around for us.

That said the midfield on Saturday was very encouraging.

Clock-End Mike
Clock-End Mike

Actually, according to my records:
Alexis has also won 2 penalties
Olivier Giroud has 4 assists and has also won 1 penalty
Mesut Özil also has an “assist” for an own goal (v Spuds)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has 7 assists
Lucas only has 5 official assists (he’s not credited with the assist for Kos’s goal v Southampton)
Alex Iwobi has 3 goals, 4 assists (plus the 2 “assists” for own goals)