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Arsenal's Emphatic Win Over West Ham Proved That They No Longer Need To Sign A Big Name Striker

07/12/2016 18:01
Stuart MacFarlane via Getty Images

Ever since Robin Van Persie left for Manchester United in 2012, most Arsenal fans have been crying out for Arsene Wenger to spend big on a proven, 'world class' striker.

The summer transfer window would come around each year and bring with it the guarantee of numerous links to big name strikers around Europe.

Karim Benzema seemed to be the most regularly mentioned name, while Gonzalo Higuain and most famously Luis Suarez were rumoured to have come close to a move to the Emirates.

None of them ever materialised, however, and while Wenger did bring in Lucas Perez this summer, frustration has been increasing year on year at the perceived lack of a world class No 9.

But this season, Wenger has found a solution without needing to splash the cash on one of the limited number of top strikers available.

His decision to convert Alexis Sanchez to the position of Arsenal's lone frontman has proved to be something of a masterstroke. While the Chilean's success isn't that much of a surprise given the abundance of attacking quality he possesses, there were some doubting whether the new role would fully utilise his abilities.

Wenger persisted with Sanchez as his main attacking outlet, though, and it has more than payed off. His stunning 14 minute hat-trick in the second half at West Ham epitomised how influential he really is, and took him level with Diego Costa as the Premier League's top scorer.

Sanchez has now found the net 11 times in just 13 starts in the league for Arsenal this season, a total that is up there with the top scorers in Europe. If Wenger had opted to spend upwards of £50m on the likes of Benzema or Higuain, would they have had any more impressive a record?

And, though that argument could be made, it's unlikely that either of Benzema or Higuain would have the seemingly telepathic understanding that Sanchez has built up with Mesut Ozil. The linkup play between the duo has been excellent since their first game together at the club, but since Sanchez became the focal point of attack it seems to have reached another level.

It was evident against West Ham, with some sublime moves crafted out with consummate ease by the two. Sanchez's movement off the ball and his typically dogged harrying of defenders, proved to be a constant thorn in the side of the Hammers.

Arsene Wenger summed up the almost predatory nature of the former Barcelona man after the game. "He has a killer instinct," he said.

Of course, it has to be taken into consideration that this was against opposition that have had a fairly torrid time since their move to the London Stadium, and conceded 29 goals. But it by no means takes away from the quality of Sanchez and Arsenal's attacking performance. Nor was it a one off - Sanchez has been threatening such a performance for weeks.

Some Gunners fans might still make the argument that there will be games that don't suit playing the 27-year-old as a lone striker. That could be the case in a particularly physical game, but that's why they have Olivier Giroud waiting in reserve.

The Frenchman has proved to be one of the best impact substitutes in the Premier League, coming off the bench to score crucial goals on a number of occasions. With him, as well as Lucas Perez - who himself scored a superb hat-trick against FC Basel on Tuesday night - and the soon to be returning Danny Welbeck, Arsenal for once don't need to worry about bringing in a striker.

As the top scorers in the Premier League with 33 goals, it's probably the last area Wenger is looking to strengthen.

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