The Montpellier striker who scored 21 goals in the Ligue last season to lead his club to their first ever Championnat is now officially a Gunner having passed his medical. This is good news because the Gunners obviously need someone who is excellent in the air because RVP and Theo Walcott aren’t exactly aerial sharpshooters. Nicklas Bendtner was supposed to be one but he inexplicably got pushed out out to the wing. Marouane Chamakh after an impressive start, turned out to be a pushover.
The obvious source of tension amongst fans with Lukas Podolski joining too, is this a signal Arsenal are resigned to a RVP departure? Here is the rub. They’re asking two untested players in the Premier League to step into the shoes of a 30 goal scorer and deliver on impact in association with a midfield that has looked less and less incisive and controlling in years.
Giroud and Poldi are not exactly Sergio Aguero or Mario Balotelli who have consistently been top goalscorers at clubs like Atletico and Inter before joining City for record fees. The Montpellier striker had a great year in the Ligue and Poldi came good after years of underachievement at Bayern in his Koln return.
We have seen phenomenal debuts in Chicharito, Nikica Jelavic, and Papiss Cisse, hitherto unknown, now obviously firmly established in their sides for their impressive goal scoring exploits. But those are exceptions. Within the Arsenal ranks we have a long line of players who have disappointed with their production and have been loaned out or are sitting on the bench without playing any substantial minutes.
The more pertinent question is whether Arsenal wants to challenge for another fourth placed finish or whether it seriously wants to cover the yawning 19 point deficit that separated them from City and Utd. Arsenal scored 74 goals compared to Utd’s eighty nine and City’s ninety three. Good enough for third, nowhere near good enough to be ever considered serious challengers for last season’s title. When you consider the number of goals Arsenal concede, goal production becomes even more critical to a winning equation.
If Giroud and Poldi can pull 20 + goals between them that would be phenomenal production for their first season. But that is again an X factor. The midfield (Arteta should be good for a half dozen) and defense (Vermaelen mitigates his defensive errors with regular goals) with about 25 more should bring up the total to about 50 goals. They need at least 40 more goals to vie for honours.
The pressure on RVP was compounded by the fact that Walcott and Gervinho were so disappointing in their goal output with just twelve scored despite numerous scoring opportunities. They should with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain be able to add more to their total this season but we’re talking yet another X factor. Which if we add all up leads to a shortfall of 20- 25 goals.
In conclusion, RVP is as yet irreplaceable because when healthy, he is Arsenal’s assured supplier of goals. The club obviously cannot pay RVP the sort of Yaya Toure type of wages but a combination of a reasonable raise and new blood could be enough to persuade him that this might be the season that Arsenal finally, finally break their silveware drought. If he leaves, the most optimistic prediction is a dogfight for a fourth placed finish. Not terrible but just not good enough.
Giroud does have an unusual way of celebrating. A bit of an acquired taste for the recipient >>