Arsene Wenger has claimed that Olivier Giroud isn’t Arsenal’s Plan B but the Frenchman should embrace the variety and options he has in his squad as it could be what helps the Gunners to win the Premier League title.
Arsene Wenger reacted angrily when it was put to him that Olivier Giroud was his side’s Plan B.
“There is no plan B in any squad, I never thought about my players like that,” Wenger said.
“The team who is the most effective for the next game, that’s what you pick and I consider everyone as a regular player. That is basically what a manager thinks, what is [best] for the next game.
“If he is involved in the next game in your mind, he plays. If not then he doesn’t start. He has shown he is a huge asset for the club and I have always supported him.”
Wenger’s support for Giroud is not in any doubt. He has stuck by his compatriot since signing him from Montpellier for £10 million despite Gunners fans frequently calling for an upgrade on the French international.
This season Wenger’s hand has been forced by Giroud’s injuries but it is arguable that Arsenal have been better for his absence. Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil have thrived as a rotating forward four that has perplexed defenders and Arsenal are rightly one of the favourites to win the 2016-17 Premier League title.
The Gunners have been in this position before and Bettingpro.com noted that they were actually shorter than their current odds of 11/2 after 10 games last season and that Arsenal were just 7/4 favourites at this stage in the 2015-16 season before finishing second to Leicester City.
Those odds suggest that Arsenal are less likely to win the title this year than they were last season, which is an indication of the increased competition. But maybe that’s not actually the case?
This season there is more depth in the Arsenal squad with Giroud able to come into the attack when required, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain an impact substitute in midfield and the likes of Mohamed Elneny and Grant Xhaka giving cover for whenever Francis Coquilin or Santi Cazorla are unavailable.
These ‘reserve’ options are arguably stronger than any other Premier League side and each offers an alternative to the players who are on the pitch if something is not working. It’s these extra options which makes Arsenal a far more attractive proposition this season and instead of rallying against a Plan B it is perhaps time for Wenger to embrace it and to proclaim it as the reason why Gunners fans can be more confident than ever about their title challenge.