The worst kept secret in football came to a head on Friday as Arsenal finalized the transfer of striker Maroune Chamakh, on a bosman from Bordeaux. Although not as prolific as some arsenal fans would like, he still has a decent return, 79 goals in a total of 293 appearances over the course of his eight year career in Ligue 1.
He reminds me of a certain Arsenal striker who shall not be named, except he is not as lazy as this said player and definitely doesn’t stray offside every chance he gets. The player who shall not be named had similar stats coming out of the french league – 18 goals in 79 total appearances with Monaco, and 15 goals in 44 appearances with Metz. I expect Chamakh’s goal tally to increase just like the player who shall not be named. He will get more chances to score once he gets used to Arsenal’s style of play.
The introduction of the 4-3-3 means going forward our attack has some bite, but has come up short in big games against the better teams. We didn’t have a true second system to fall back on against quality opponents last season, and this is exactly what Chamakh gives Arsene Wenger – Options!
I suspect that next season, you will see Arsenal switch to the 4-4-2 against the likes of Chelsea, Money City/Mansour City, United and Sp*rs. The 4-3-3 left our fullbacks exposed against these quality sides, however a 4-4-2 not only protects them, it also provides the likes of Eduardo and Carlos Vela the freedom to operate behind the central striker. They are more effective playing in that hole behind the striker than leading the line. Against the “lesser” teams we will switch back to the normal 4-3-3 formation with Chamakh most likely out on the wing. I watched quite a bit of Bordeaux games this season and he is adept at playing out wide occasionally interchanging with the central striker or target man.
His arrival also means our forwards can now be rotated regularly, to afford some of our injury prone strikers much-needed rest. The quality of Arsenal means we are usually involved in cup competitions late into the season, that means more games for the players. Bendtner played 31 games last season, Vela had 20 appearances, Eduardo – 32 total appearances, Van Persie – 20 total appearances and finally Theo Walcott – 30 total appearances. These starts pale in comparison to Vermalen’s 45 total starts this past season. So depth in that department is much welcomed, hopefully he stays fit throughout the season. He does seem to be a very durable striker, I can’t recall him having any serious injuries over the course of his career.