First thing is first, we (touch wood) seem all fine on the injury front. This is what international football has become for me. But we are not out of the woods just yet, there will be another round of games so I am not throwing any sort of party at the moment.
On the actual football, it seemed like a good night of football for the Arsenal players who started their games. We had a few goal scorers last night, Nicklas Bendtner leading the way with a brace. That is now 24 goals in 56 games for his country. While Bendtner has clearly lost his way off the pitch in the last few seasons, I think the mocking of his ability is down to his perceived character rather than his actual playing ability. Interestingly though, I don't think I've ever read any comments where he displays arrogance beyond the usual highly paid footballer in today's game.
This is not to say that I wouldn't move him on if the choice was mine, we have a squad of fighters and I don't think that Bendtner has enough of that in his game. I also don't think his first touch is good enough for our style of play. I am sure I read in the past that was the reason Arsene played him in a wide position. But what Bendtner can do is score goals and get himself in the correct position to do so. This is why I am not as overly concerned if he is our short term back up forward because in a team with Özil, Cazorla, Walcott, Ramsey 3.0 and Wilshere he will score goals if given a run in the team. But that is only if Oliver Giroud is not available because he is the main man this season. His chipped goal last night was reminiscent of something that Dennis Bergkamp would do, and no I am not comparing him to Dennis so behave yourself.
That type of finish is type of finish only attempted by a player full of self confidence. A delicate chip over the keepers head after a Ribery cut back when the easier option would have been to blast it. There is more creativity to come from this team, especially with so many wide players out injured consequently there should be more to come from Oliver Giroud as the season goes on.
Aaron Ramsey received yet another man of the match award following an impressive display for Wales. He had made a goal, also won a penalty but unfortunately he missed his spot kick. Mesut Özil also scored for the Germans so it was a good Arsenal international night but I want to stick to the striker debate.
Clearly we were on the hunt in the summer for a top class forward and our central striking options are not as strong as those who will end up around us come the end of the season. I think there are a few interesting points that we need to look into a little.
Firstly many seem convinced that we will swoop for an 'Özil type striking signing in January' and it is this signing that will push us to properly compete for the title and even the Champions League. No arguments from me there I must say but how realistic is this going to be? The summer transfer window is the window that most managers hold out for to make changes to their squads, the January window is often frowned upon by many managers not just our own. Clubs do not want to sell half way through a season. Also many players will not want to move, especially this January as the world cup is around the corner.
Because clubs do not want to sell, prices are even more inflated than usual. I am guessing that it is easier to buy a player from a mid-table French club for example than it would be to purchase a player of the level that Arsene would want. Take Mr Luis Suarez for example, can you imagine Liverpool allowing Suarez to leave if they are pushing for the top four positions? Or even if you go further down the league and look at someone like Benteke, the financial rewards for staying in the division are huge so clubs do not want the risk.
This is not to say that deals cannot happen in January, deals are made every winter but rarely are the biggest deals done during that time. If we do manage to attract a quality striker in January then it is likely that a deal was close to happening in the summer but something prevented it from happening and all three parties are holding off until Jan.
The other point to consider is the style of forward we require. It can be viewed in two different ways. I often hear that we should bring in a different type of forward to give us more options, a player that can play with Oliver Giroud and I totally understand that way of thinking. Makes perfect sense. We were very interested in buying Luis Suarez and he is the total opposite to Oliver Giroud but here is the problem.
Giroud has been fantastic for us and that is not taking his goals into consideration. Giroud has been the focal point of the team, he has been the player to link our attack together. Whether that be from long goal kicks forward or balls played up to his feet. His blend of power and subtlety has been incredibly important to our team. Having another type of player to come on to join Giroud or start with Giroud would be great for us but what happens should Giroud suffer injury? even for 3-4 weeks, let alone more.
Even if his replacement is of top quality, if his style is the opposite then our whole game changes, especially if the team have been on a successful run. Much of our game is based on partnerships, interchanging and spontaneity so if an important part of the team changes then I wonder what impact it would have on our performance.
So when I read the reports that Arsenal are interested in a loan move for Fernando Llorente in January it makes sense for an Arsenal perspective. A tall, powerful yet technical striker who scores goals. No idea what his link play is like to be honest but physically and technically he fits the profile of how we are currently set up. From a player point of view, I am not so sure it makes that much sense, although probably more sense than staying at Juventus where he has had pretty much no football stuck behind Carlos Tevez, Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella.
If I was the player in question who wanted to move to get first team football in a bid to push for a world cup place then maybe a club without a Oliver Giroud shaped obstacle might be a wiser move. I am also pretty dubious about the source.
The Mirror have a habit of linking us with players that Arsenal fans have penned in their transfer wish lists. But like I said, Fernando Llorente would be an excellent back up to Giroud, or in fact direct competition with Giroud. A couple of years ago he was hot property. Give some old hot property some belief, games and ahead of a hot property midfield and hey presto you have some new hot property.
Oh and the plan b type of forward could well be already at the club. Both Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott are wide forwards who could play centrally if we wanted to partner Giroud or play a different style.
Most of this piece is very premature but given our strikers goals last night and well, the international break I thought I'd bring it up.
I'd love to know your thoughts on the matter, who do you think fits the bill? Can we buy a different style of striker and get away with losing Giroud (god forbid)
Let me know what you think in the comments and enjoy your Saturday.