One of the main reasons to be cheerful for grumble-prone Gooners last season was the way in which they replaced the goals of Robin van Persie, not by signing a ‘silver bullet’ striker but by sharing goals evenly around their attackers.
In mustering just two less than they’d managed thanks to the 30-goal contribution of the Dutchman in 2011/12, 48 were shared between first-choice front three Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott and attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla.
That quartet head the Arsenal Premier League top goalscorer betting this for season, with 2012/13 goal-leader Walcott second favourite behind evens jolly Giroud. Podolski and Cazorla are less fancied at 8/1 and 10/1 respectively.
Of the foursome, Cazorla is the first we can discount by virtue of his being party to at least 12 starts more than his three leading rivals when registering his 12 net-bulgers last term.
Giroud is a worthy favourite having plundered six goals in his first three games on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia and teammates such as Tomas Rosicky have suggested they foresee a profitable season ahead for the Frenchman after the steep learning curve of his first campaign in England last term.
Unfortunately for his backers the centre forward position for which he is Arsenal’s sole purpose-recruited incumbent is the one which his club have spent the majority of the off season trying to upgrade.
Luis Suarez or Wayne Rooney would undoubtedly start ahead of the Frenchman if Arsene Wenger was operating – as he did in every league game last season – with a single central striker.
Of those currently on the books at the Emirates, Theo Walcott looks a superior bet for a variety of reasons.
His ability to play either centrally or wide in a front three means he’s of more tactical use to Arsene Wenger than Giroud, who is only likely to be used as a centre forward. As a result he can expect a variety of roles from which he can hurt sides over the course of the campaign.
Walcott’s raw pace also means he’s a potent goal-threat from the bench, with tired defensive legs particularly vulnerable to his hunger for through-balls.
However at 8/1 Lukas Podolski may rate the best value of last season’s forward trio. Like Giroud, the German took his time to adapt to life in the Premier League, but still managed a healthy helping of goals for his side and like Walcott his game time is unlikely to suffer from the recruitment of a new centre forward, although he can play there to good effect if necessary.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication.