Arsene Wenger has risked the ire of Arsenal fans after admitting that Olivier Giroud will start next season as the Gunners' first-choice striker despite the forward struggling to score goals on a consistent basis this season. The Frenchman went 15 Premier League games without a goal in the second-half of the campaign before scoring a hat-trick on the final day against Aston Villa, but the north London club's manager has revealed that the club have to deal with his bouts of inconsistency during the course of the season.
The French manager has admitted that a lack of goals was one of the main reasons for Arsenal dropping out of the title race this season, and has vowed to strengthen the forward line, especially after Danny Welbeck was ruled out for nine months with a knee injury. Fellow forward Theo Walcott also failed to contribute on the goal front and is facing an uncertain future at the club after falling out of favour in recent months.
Arsenal managed to finish second in a season that was touted to be the north London club's best chance at winning their first title in over a decade, but poor performances in the second-half saw their challenge fizzle out. Wenger will be under pressure to address the shortcomings with the offensive department being one of the key areas that need strengthening. The manager will sign a forward, but has indicated that he will not be an understudy to Giroud. He will be someone who will challenge the France international for a place in the starting XI.
"Yes," Wenger said, when asked if Giroud will start as first-choice striker next season, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"I believe that Danny Welbeck being out now for a long, long time we will be on the road to look for one more striker."
"After that it's down to compete. Olivier has strong and weak moments so we have to deal with that. He is a bit unbelievable - he is in cycles. He scores in spells and then sometimes he scores less," the French coach explained.