Arsenal DO Have Best Attack Since Thierry Henry’s Days with Potential to be Better


Arsene Wenger made a somewhat innocuous statement over the weekend when he pointed out that Arsenal’s attack is the best since Thierry Henry’s days at the club. Naturally, some cynical minds out there were immediately stricken with phony outrage to the tune of “no team will ever be that good!” but Wenger made no such claims.

Henry’s “days” at Arsenal ended in 2007. From 2008-2012, Arsenal was run by Robin van Persie. While he was a stellar striker, mainly in his last year, it was largely a one man attack for Arsenal.

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During van Persie’s time, he was the only player who consistently hit double-digit goals. Andrei Arshavin and Cesc Fabregas had a season each where they did, as did Niklas Bendtner, but it was essentially all van Persie. That severely hinders an attack, even for someone of van Persie’s quality.

This current Arsenal squad “has the most potential since Thierry’s time” as Arsene Wenger pointed out (per ESPNFC). Wenger is absolutely right. As it stands, Arsenal have seven players who either have scored or have the potential to score ten goals in a season: Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

I was going to throw Jack Wilshere in there, but I didn’t want a bounty to be put on my head, but I do believe that Wilshere has that potential. You could even argue that Danny Welbeck has the potential, it’s just a matter of ironing out his game.

I’m not saying that there will be a time where they all score ten goals in a season, because that is a lot of goals, but with potential comes possibility. 70+ goals is a distinct possibility for this Arsenal side.

Arsenal FC
Arsenal FC /

Arsenal FC

Take this year for example. This weekend, for the first time all year, we have most of our potential goal scorers healthy. Against Crystal Palace, we lined up Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla. Walcott was on the bench and the Ox and Ramsey were injured.

The attack didn’t have the prototypical spearheaded format. There was no “leader of the attack.” Arsenal’s attack could come from anywhere. It could come from Welbeck or Sanchez down the flanks, Giroud down the middle or Santi or Ozil. There is no one that a team can key off on and say “that’s the goal scorer, shut him down.” All of our front five players have proven they can put the ball in the net. So instead of our attack being like a pointed spear, it’s like a wave from touchline to touchline.

The reason I say they have the potential to be better than during Henry’s time is the same reason I keyed off on van Persie’s time. Henry was the best striker Arsenal have ever had and one of the best the world has ever seen. As such, he was scoring the majority of the goals, and that’s fine when a player like him comes around. But he doesn’t come around often, and Arsenal don’t have a player like that now. Granted, Henry had Bergkamp, Pires, etc. he was still the guy.

As such, having a cohesive unit as an attack, like we do now, can be superior to one man more times than not. But to be superior to that one man, the unit has to work together as one, something that Arsenal are currently working on sorting out.

The more game time this attack gets to work together, the more all of what I said will start turning into reality and not speculation. The potential is there, the mastermind (Arsene Wenger) is there, it’s just a matter of gaining chemistry and gaining confidence.

So while the Invincible’s was a once in a century occurrence, Arsenal’s potential is there, and it will continue to grow as long as we stay healthy.

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