Arsene Wenger has indicated that he is not interested in signing another striker. There was a lot of hoo recently as Anelka was resurrected again but it was shot down by the gaffer. So far Soccerblog's prediction has held good. But there is no reason to panic.
Theo Walcott has been in impressive form scoring a goal and assisting in one of RVP's goals against Genclerberligi ( did I get that right?). Wenger thinks that Theo is ready for the big time. Which could only mean that Wenger is thinking of Theo partnering RVP up front.
Da Silva's came on for the final 21 minutes and his form impressed Wenger and this is what he had to say:
"You could see that straightaway when Eduardo came on he is a quality player," said Wenger. "His movement, his sharpness, the quality of his runs, and his final ball was perfect."
Lets face it, if Da Silva can score a third of what he scored for Dinamo Zagreb, he would be an outstanding success. In the absence of a consistent 20+ goal striker which Henry was, the Gunners need smaller contributions from other strikers and midfielders.
That means Cesc, Gilberto (who had a great season scoring 10 goals), Flamini, Hleb, and Rosicky need to put in more goals. At least 30. The promising part was that the goal scoring aspect came alive when Henry was out all of December and January. The Arsenal defense was one of the more adventurous ones in the Premiership last season with Toure and Gallas scoring 6 and if they can score that many this season we have about 35 from these two areas.
Many have written about Arsenal being undersized and certainly, Da Silva with his 5' 6" frame is no Henry in his physical presence. I think Wenger has a very good option in Nicklas Bendtner with his 6' 2" height, to hold off the more intimidating defenses like Blackburn, Bolton, and Newcastle, and use his aerial ability to score goals. So we do have a solution. Adebayor is coming along nicely as a super sub.
Wenger is confident that Freddie Ljungberg is not going anywhere and sees the experienced Swedish winger playing a leadership role. Ljungberg has lost a bit of pace but can still be an asset in limited appearances, if healthy, and if necessary.
Gael Clichy's widening the left side of the field with his speed was refreshing. Now if we could get him to serve up some quality crosses. Eboue's forays on the right could be further developed into a more formal wing back position. It was a beauty of a cross from Eboue that led to Henry's winner against Man Utd, so the man has talent in that area.
Arsenal needs 75 goals to remain competitive with no drop off expected in Man Utd and Chelsea and an upgrade in Liverpool and Spurs. Lets put this in perspective.
The key as I see is that Chelsea score a consistent 70+ goals, get their defense to then shut down attacks to achieve their titles and Liverpool who score a sub 60 goals but get their wins consistently through low scoring games; with Arsenal in recent years, its feast or famine, they either come out like gangbusters or dry up inexplicably.
Arsenal's hyperactive 87 goals in 2005-2006 was only good for the runners up position as they won 4 fewer games than Chelsea. Similarly, in 2002-2003, they scored 85 goals and fell short in wins compared to Man Utd. Both years saw the defense giving up plenty of goals and a clumping of blowout wins followed by a string of losses.
In contrast, it was the Arsenal defense that shut down the opposition in their unbeaten 2003-2004 season as the attack only scored 72 goals, in relatively low scoring wins and many draws. So there is no reason to mourn the loss of Henry and filter the doomsday predictions of scrapping with the Spurs for fourth.
70+ goals can get us the title. I think this year may see the return of consistency and low scoring wins with a more distributed attack BUT we need a tighter defense.