Arsene Wenger is not concerned by Olivier Giroud’s recent slump in front of goal and believes assists and goals are the same for a striker.
While title favourites Leicester travel to The Emirates on Sunday full of goals and high on confidence, Wenger has an attacking dilemma.
The Gunners can close to within two points of the Premier League leaders with victory in the noon kick-off – but defeat could see them drop as low as fourth by the end of the day.
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are again likely to provide the thorn in the side for Arsenal’s defence, with the Foxes duo combining for 32 league goals and 13 assists this season.
They have been the driving force of a superb squad effort which has seen Claudio Ranieri’s side lose just twice in the Premier League so far – with one of those defeats a 5-2 reverse to Arsenal at the King Power Stadium back in September.
But Arsenal’s free-flowing, attacking football has been somewhat absent as of late and Wenger had seen his side go almost five and a half hours without a league goal before their 88-second double salvo in the 2-0 win at Bournemouth a week ago.
Giroud is the only player at the club to break into double figures for league goals, having racked up 12 so far, but the France international has not scored in his last five outings – something Wenger insists he is not troubled by.
“Not so much,” he said when asked if Giroud going over a month without a goal was a concern.
“Because on Sunday he gave the ball to Mesut Ozil on the first goal. An assist or goal is, for me, exactly the same for a striker.”
Giroud may have temporarily lost his scoring touch and with Alexis Sanchez – who struck a hat-trick in the big win at Leicester – still striving for match sharpness after an injury lay-off over
Christmas and New Year, the burden of goals could instead fall on Theo Walcott.
But the England forward has just three league goals this season and has found himself on the bench for the last two Premier League games.
“Recently Theo has gone through a bit of a difficult patch,” Wenger explained.
“He’s coming back just now and I haven’t decided yet. They play very deep so they don’t give you a lot of space behind.
“So for us it’s always difficult. Do we use one tall guy to force that on the crosses or do we go for a bit more pace?”