Arsene Wenger has hit out at the media and fans who were imploring him to sign a striker last summer, with the form of Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott keeping them firmly in the race for the title. The duo scored a goal each in their 2-1 win over Manchester City and Wenger believes that he has been vindicated in keeping faith in his players this season.
The Gunners were heavily linked with a move for Karim Benzema last summer, with the move apparently falling through after the Frenchman revealed that he was not in any hurry to leave Real Madrid. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, another player touted with a move to the Emirates, is proving his worth this season at Borussia Dortmund, scoring goals for fun in the Bundesliga.
The Gunners have good strength in depth in the forward position, with Danny Welbeck also set to return to the first team after recovering from a knee injury which kept him out since April. Alexis Sanchez, who has nine goals in all competitions this season, is another player who can be deployed through the middle, currently cutting in from the left. The Chilean is out of action with a hamstring injury, which he picked up against Norwich City in November.
"I could not understand the frustration of the fans. We had Giroud, but we also had Theo Walcott who I believe is a world-class striker, we had Alexis Sanchez who is a world-class striker, and we had Danny Welbeck who is a world-class striker," Wenger said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"You have to spend a huge amount of money to improve on that four. Giroud has the confidence. I have said that many times. He has the mental stature to play in this position."
Giroud has scored 15 goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick against Olympiacos which saw them through to the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Frenchman has reportedly given himself a target of 20 to 25 goals but Wenger insists that getting ahead of themselves can be counterproductive in the context of the season.
"It is always good to have targets but I prefer team targets. When you have individual targets, sometimes it can work against the team," he added.