Sunday, June 16, 2024

Henry wants defenders, suggests Alexis-Giroud partnership

Thierry Henry says that Arsenal need to sign at least one defender befoe the transfer window closes, and believes that if the club can’t find the right striker to bring in, a change of system in which Alexis Sanchez plays off Olivier Giroud could be a good solution.

Speaking on Sky Sports, where he’ll pundit full-time this season, the club’s record goalscorer suggested doubts over the two young Englishmen Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, on top of injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel and the late return of Laurent Koscielny must spark Arsene Wenger in transfer market action.

“I still think we needed a defender, so now though we need even maybe two,” he said. “You don’t know how Holding is going to turn out to be.

“Chambers, he might be the one. Who knows? Koscielny obviously coming back from the Euros might not be available, but they’re trying to get Jamie Vardy!

“But he turned it down, for whatever reason, I respect that, he wanted to stay at Leicester but as an Arsenal fan I’m like ‘He turned Arsenal down?!’ I’m like ‘What? What? Really?!’, anyway, I respect the man, but nevermind.”

He went off on a bit of a tangent there about Vardy, but suggested that Alexis playing off Giroud like Antoine Griezmann did for France at the European Championships might be something for the Arsenal manager to try.

“I just think that if you cannot get a striker – when I see what Alexis Sanchez has been doing for Chile and what he’s done for Arsenal for a very long time, and I saw what Olivier Giroud did at the Euros playing with a 9 behind him, not a 10, a 9. Someone who can run beyond him.

“He’s good enough to flick the ball, he’s good enough to keep the ball, he’s good enough to see a pass, he’s very intelligent in the way he plays,” he said.

“I think that might be a partnership. If you can’t bring a striker, maybe Sanchez can play in a freer role with Giroud.

“It can be a solution if you cannot bring a striker.”

Of course it remains to be seen what happens, but having spoken so clearly about the need for an offensive addition, it would be a surprise if one didn’t arrive. It’s still an interesting though, requiring a change of system from Wenger.

Alexis is likely to lead the line for Sunday’s Premier League opener against Liverpool.

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Ray Parlour said more or less the same thing, but would that mean putting ozil back out on the left?


Not necessarily.
I’m not a fan of it, but a 3-5-2 system would probably solve a lot of our issues.
1. A 2-man partnership with Alexis and Giroud.
2. Not having to sacrifice a 3-man centr midfield
3. Not having to sacrifice width.

Would mean needing more CBs and at least one ball-playing one in the middle and possibly provides less protection for the wing backs, but it would’ve been nice to at least see Wenger experiment a bit and show some tactical flexibility once in a while.


Our defence is so awful at times generally that even when Wenger takes off a defender and plays 4-5 strikers chasing a game it makes zero difference to our stability at the back, so why the hell not!


I am sure AW didn’t know that.

Nacho de Montréal si tasty

No, France had Pogba behind Griezman and Giroud. There were games where DD put Matuidi and Kante then Pogba and Griezman Giroud.


Can’t wait for it all to go tits up again for us this season…

Can see us getting spanked by Liverpool opening game, atmosphere will be poisonous, we’ll sign 1 mediocre player and the season will continue going downhill.

If I were Ozil or Sanchez i’d have been off this summer – lack of activity and investment in the squad is a complete joke.

Guarantee we’ll be battling for 4th again, and i for one hope we don’t get it. Change is needed.



Lord Nicki B

It’s Arsene Wenger.

He can take a team of Sanogos or a team of Messis and ensure they at least finish in the CL spots and above Spurs.


That’s his superpower.


Well…he won the league before,


How about we wait until the transfer window closes before we decide on mass suicide?


This transfer window has nearly sent me over the edge


Fuck off, James

DB10's Air Miles

Spoken like a true fan…..


Cant help but feel that Alexis alongside Giroud would leave us exposed on every counter attack.
Today’s defenders are much better at keeping their shape and tracking the run of strikers. Much success can be had for midfielders making late runs in the box.
If our attacking midfielders can give us 10 goals each this season, i think we’d be sitting pretty.


Alexis and Giroud is an option, but as pointed out on this site by the excellent Tim Stillman Giroud and Alexis haven’t complemented each other well when played in a front three together, perhaps in a two it would be different? However, that means we need to replace Alexis in a wider role however that would if we push Alexis up top WW need to backfill him with a Mahrez type..


I’m struggling why anyone would give a fuck about anything any pundit anywhere would say about anything. Ever. Henry is just someone who played for us once, like lots of others. He has now taken Murdochs shilling and that is where his loyalties lie. He was a great player. But the past is another country. He has moved on. About time the fans did.


I completely agree. The analysis is so fucking dull I won’t watch it.

Eternal Titi+Berg+Pat+Nostalgia

Henry like lot others? Is that why he has a statue? Is Zidane Real coach because he is like lot others? Will Messi become like lot others for Barcelona? What pains is that you are like lot of other fans.


He kind of does though anyway, doesn’t he? The only difference would be that you remove his defensive responsibilities, but this would also remove his ability to break quickly from the back. I would say Walcott is better suited to playing off him but only because he’s not as strong as alexis from the back


Seeing chubby Higuain blimp about against West Ham must have left Juve fans wondering why they didn’t test our resolve with an £80m bid for Alexis.

Sorry this is off topic, I was in the zone.


No this isn’t going to work. Alexis works well with a fluid strike partner. At Chile he has Vargas who is very mobile.
Besides, it means moving ozil to the left and he isn’t that effect on there. Move him to the right and it’s suicide defensively.
Just get a damn striker. Lacazette, icardi would do. We need a mobile clinical striker. Doesn’t have to be bloody Lewandowski or Aguero.


And so what about Özil? On the bench? Sold (would love him in Dortmund with Reus, Götze, Aubameyang and Schürrle…)? Great idea, Monsieur Henry…


If you’re going to play ozil on the wings, you might as well play him on the right as he can cut in and make those passes. Don’t expect 15 assists from him on the left.


I was hoping we would try that already back when we had Poldi, as his conversion rate was incredible. That would also have mitigated some of the defensive weaknesses Poldi had. However, Wenger has stayed true to a certain system for quite some time now, and I just don’t see him swapping. Once Giroud is back, it’s Giroud up front and Alexis back on one of the wings. It’s as simple as that really.

Pat Jennings

‘We’ Not so much we when a coaching role was turned down. Lots of legends turning us down for money.


John Stones to City for £47.5m – ffs – How is he worth this?


Here is where you see the difference between being rich like us and being filthy rich like Manchester teams and Chelsea.


If we are just rich and they are filthy rich then why are they ranked behind us on the top ten richest clubs? I believe our problem is that of over thinking the issue of whT a player sud be worth.


There is absolutely no reason why Holding won’t turn out a better player. It’s just fucking insane.


If we don’t get a striker we will not win the league and Wenger will go.


That’s his call and I am sure he will make it right at the end.


One thing is worse than fans talking tactics. That’s pundits talking tactics.


4-1-2-1-2……can’t understand why this formation isn’t ever suggested. It allows Giroud and Alexis up front with Ozil in his best position behind…..then you have room for Ramsey, Santi and Xhaka:

Bellerin-Kos-*New Signing-Monreal

Texas Tanaka

I like 4-1-2-1-2 diamond, it gets the best out of most of the players available. However it does crowd an already crowded area of the pitch – and what of The Ox?

John C

What benefit is there by playing Sanchez with Giroud through the middle? he already scores plenty from the wing. The problem is not that he doesn’t score enough its that others don’t contribute as he does, we need more goals from other sources.

This is why we need a new striker and/or a goalscorer on the right.


Don’t misunderstand, we do need new players but was talking options as things stand currently.

The Great Ex-Priest Tobin

Waiting for Wenger to make a signing is like waiting for George R R Martin to write a novel.

Udit Arora

Baffled why no one seems to talk about Akpom up front? He has been excellent in pre-season, knows how to finish, is strong, has matured really well and kinda reminds me of Sturridge. I’m not convinced we need to buy any more forwards. Alexis, Giroud, Welbz (should be back soon enough), Campbell, Akpom, Iwobi, Theo, Gnabry, Sanogo, Asano (if he gets the visa) – we have excellent strength in depth. I know the bench quality would be stronger without the last 2 but those guys are back-ups, not starters. We should be concentrating on buying a central defender and a… Read more »


How about Mr Henry STFU!


“Of course it remains to be seen what happens, but having spoken so clearly about the need for an offensive addition, it would be a surprise if one didn’t arrive.” Haven’t you been an Arsenal fan long enough? eh Blogs?


Sacrificing Özil so Giroud can be a more valid option upfront sounds about Meh to me. Sure Özil can play wide but he just shot down Walcott out wide due to his defensive inefficiencies and Özil is no better in that regard and frankly it’s a massive miss use of what is arguably the most creative offensive playmaker this side of the millennium.


Giroud is better with a striker alongside him. Didier Deschamps understood that. Arsene should revert to that old 442 formation. His best years were under that tactic. 2 midfield anchors in granit and elneny, santi and ozil pulling the strings and Alexis and Giroud up front. As simple as that.You have talent and experience.Football is a simple game. People emphasize on the wings but Elneny can help and Granit too; Santi is disciplined enough to come back. Ramsey, Coquelin, Iwobi, Campbell, Walcott, The Jeff, subtitutes and those players can’t be more than that if we are ambitious. But these raises… Read more »


Their owner is worth 20bn and he actually wants to spend it on football


That was supposed to be a reply. Something odd going on with the site today.


The 3-5-2 sounds like a viable option. But that would mean employing wing backs as opposed to out and out wingers. This would leave Iwobi, Campbell and Chambo out of the picture completely


Giroud alone or Giroud – Sanchez won’t prevent Giroud to have his failures (and i like him, he is great but…). I don’t see what good it can bring to the team and worse: putting Özil on the wing lowers his impact…

215 Arse

Why such a low rating? James is spot on. Take your heads out of your arses.

Giroud is 30, so at least we need one striker. Same goes for Mertesacker and Koscielny. And does anybody disagree with the Sanchez, Ozil departures. It’s so obvious. Neither signed a new deal, and big bird is still fucking about.

Wenger out.


I think a lot of you are missing the point, we need Ozil to adapt to the No.10 position and be more supportive to the striker. If our midfield contains Santi alongside Xhaka he should feel more comfortable in not having to drop deep to receive the ball and be more of a goal threat. There aren’t many available bombastic strikers out there capable of occupying the attention of 2 CBs we all crave for. We need Ozil himself to be more like Griezmann and be that goal scoring threat. I still believe we should play Sanchez upfront and Ozil… Read more »


Anything, but leave Ozil in the central position.

Stuck on repeat...

All very well & good focusing on who can partner up with &/or play off of Giroud….but that’s not really the whole issue at hand. The issue is that you are then relying on Giroud a) playing pretty much every game, & b) Giroud not getting injured….which if he plays every game is even less likely.

We need an alternative threat to Giroud so that whoever we are playing doesn’t really know which option we will go for. Otherwise we become ever so predictable & easy to plan against…which for me was part of the biggest problem last season.

Tomas Casus

Why do you bother following Arsenal?


Wenger would never change the system so much, and it would take a big change of formation to play the duo Sanchez-Giroud up front. But who knows…..


In other words, you’re saying we should change our system for Giroud?? Why? We should be building the team around ozil and alexis, not giroud. Fact is they both like playing besides a mobile type of striker.


If we get off to a bad start the bin bags and Wenger out banners will be in abundance adding more frustration and pressure on and off the pitch

Lula da Gilberto

For ten years I have said two up front won’t happen because we do not have the bulk in midfield to challenge with only four players. With Elneny and Xhaka it might be different.

But to be honest I cant see it. Iwobi and Ramsey better suit five in midfield. I’m surprised Iwobi up front is rarely broached as an alternative. The kid seems to have it all.


Thats what Van Gaal thought, and so did Rodgers. Works great in fifa but not in the premiere league.

Blitz Bailey

Could Özil be for sale? I mean Özil is worth 100+ mill as a number 10, But as a winger you can easily find better options out there. And if we revert to a 9 behind the striker formation then Özil would be worth more to us on the market than in the squad. Could easily go and pick up Draxler or Mahrez and a prober defender for that kind of money. And since we are so “poor” according to no one but the club chief executive,then Wenger probably need to fund any big signings by selling someone aswell. And… Read more »


Why do we always pay heed to people with little experience running a club let alone in transfer market dealibgs?? Alexis plays alongside Giroud anyway That is the system with Alexis coming in off of Giroud on one flank with ability to switch sides GIROUD is an enabler who is deft at bringing in players WALCOTT can also come in off of corresponding flank so we really play a trio Add Campbell, Iwobi, Ox and even young Gnabry as options And we also have Ozil if he can add goals from the pocket just behind AND Ramsey. WITH Granit and… Read more »


*IMPROVE. not ‘backup’

The Great One

We could also adopt a 4-4-2 diamond that way we get the best out of Ozil and even Ramsey. Then as the game progresses we can revert to the traditional 4-5-1 bringing on the likes of Coquelin to see the game off.


A diamond of , Xhaka at the base, Santi and Ramsey centrally and Ozil at point would be amazing to see. Monreal and Bellerin overlapping to provide width with Giroud as a pivot for Alexis up top.
Certainly wouldn’t try it without a world class super quick right sided centre back to complement Koscielny though.

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