Giroud is not the bad piece in Arsenal’s puzzle – another Frenchman is

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New signings, high expectations, slow starts, fans booing Wenger and the team, impressive second half run of matches and finishing off with Champions League qualification have been the defining characteristics of Arsenal’s campaign in the last couple of years. Why Arsenal can’t start as strong as they finish the season, why they can’t progress to the latter stages of the Champions Leagues is a conundrum for their faithful supporters.

Many fans believe that Olivier Giroud is not the right man to lead the line and that a world class replacement – Karim Benzema for example – is the missing piece in their puzzle. Well, he is not!!

The missing piece in Arsenal’s puzzle is a replacement for Francis Coquelin – great teams are always built around a strong defensive midfielder and since the departure of the great Viera, Arsenal have not had one. Think about Keane’s United, Makelele’s Madrid and Chelsea, Toure’s City, Modric’s Madrid, Busquets’s Barcelona, Dunga’s Brazil, Kroos’s Germany and now Matic’s Chelsea. The DM position is the backbone of a team Coquelin is just not right there with the best of them.

Very rarely are football terms named after players. The “Cryuff turn” and the “Makelele role” are two of those rare terms. Unlike the conventional DM role based on crunching tackles, the Makelele role relied on simplicity, efficiency, superb positional awareness, the ability to break up play and starting attacks. In 2002 he was regarded by his team mates as the most important player in Real Madrid Champions League victory. He did not have the Galactico appeal the Perez was striving for and was subsequently shunted away to Chelsea to bring in David Beckham – and we all know what happened then. Chelsea started their title winning era, while Madrid have not reached the Champions League final until 2014 and were eclipsed domestically by Barcelona.

We will not miss Makelele. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn’t a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres.” Perez on Makelele

For Arsenal though, until they find their own Makelele, their struggles will continue.

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