The black-book to Middle-Earth

Always the favourite country of tourists, New Zealand is often said to be the secret paradise of the world. Quietly tucked away in a corner, this island nation perhaps escapes the attention of some travellers, but as anyone who has ever set sight upon its shores would tell you, it would stay with you forever.

There are countless reasons to visit New Zealand, but the most important one is the simplest one: it is beautiful. Readers familiar with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings franchises would need no introduction to its majestic, awe-inspiring, truly picturesque scenery. The climate is very pleasant most of the year. It’s ranked as the no. 1 Community on OECD Better Life Index and no. 2 on Social Support by the World Happiness report. The result is that it’s one of the most hospitable, tranquil and beautiful places on this earth, not just to travel, but even more so to live in. As if this were not enough, its global contribution to Science and Technology is 6th highest according to The Good Country Index, and is 3rd highest in Sustainability according to the Fragile States Index. No wonder, it is often viewed as a template for a futuristic, sustainable world.

As a tourist destination, except perhaps for historical museums (who’s going to miss those anyway, eh? :D); New Zealand has anything and everything to offer. Auckland is one of the most beautiful, geographically unique and diverse, and socio-economically advanced cities of the world. Lying on an isthmus connecting the northern and southern parts of the North Island, the city is, at its nucleus, a world class hub of modern lifestyle, known for its shopping, art galleries, restaurants and bars. Towards the peripheries are beautiful beaches, wine regions, resplendent rainforests, the glorious Harauki Gulf and not least the Waiheke Island, which ranks amongst the top ten tourist destinations of the world. Just a half-hour ferry ride away from the city, this island is a world apart.

Wellington is a capital city well worth the title. Rather compact, but bursting with life, it flaunts gorgeous Victorian architecture on a backdrop of scenery comprising of rugged shorelines, harbours and hill-top views. It’s notable for its botanical gardens, the night food market, and boasts some of the best pubs and bars.

It should hardly come as a surprise that New Zealand has some of the best beaches of the world. Perhaps the most popular is the Ninety-Mile(actually, 55 miles long) beach that stretches along the north-west coast of the north island. Then, there is the black-sand beach of Auckland, the iconic Kiwi beach of Hahei, the beach of Manu Bay (most famous for surfing) and many, many others.

If you’re an adventure and sports enthusiast, Queenstown in the place to go. Known as the adventure capital of the world, it boasts some of the world’s more blood-curling, adrenalin-rush sports and scenery. Whether it is skiing, sky-diving, or the world’s biggest swing (it is really big), there are enough adventures, many of which you’ve probably never heard of, to thrill yourself to your heart’s content.

For the foodies, Central Otago is world-famous. Beautiful vineyards and restaurants that serve the best of the New-Zealand food right in the middle of majestic natural scenery is a staggering assault on the senses, enough to leave one awestruck. Otago is also quite famous for its Farmers’ market, known for its authentic organic foods.

All things considered, while New Zealand may not have an iconic Eiffel Tower or a legendary Statue of Liberty; what it does offer is a once in a lifetime experience truly unlike anywhere else in the world. Not for nothing, it’s known as God’s own country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By our lonesome

However pointless life may seem to be, we, the thinking beings of this world, can’t stop trying to find some semblance of meaning; can’t stop believing that what we do, what we think, matters. We believe that somewhere along the line, our choices and our actions will lead us to a goal that will give us happiness. We rely on our friends, girlfriends, partners, brothers to be our compatriots on this journey towards the discovery of meaning and happiness. We discover our “soul-mates” and choose to spend our lives with them. But who of all these people, anyone from all your relationships, truly and completely knows what it is to be you?  Why is it that instead of knowing our own selves, we choose to find solace in the limited knowledge of others? How can we expect anyone else to know us, when we don’t know ourselves, when they don’t know themselves?
What are we looking for in love? Is it possible that harboring under the delusion that our significant other knows us and forgives us for our shortcomings, we find an escape to the challenge of dealing with ourselves? To say ‘I love you’, one must first know the I.
We’re all separate, single, unique. Friendship,  kinship, is where the magic lies. Knowing that despite being alone, we’re never lonely, is a blessing I’m forever thankful for. But in this journey of life, we all have to tread our paths by our lonesome.

France

France, often called L’hexagone, occupies a unique position in Europe as well as the world. Situated at the edge of western Europe overlooking the Atlantic, yet connected to Germany, Span, Italy and the United Kingdom (through the English Channel) among many others, it serves as the unofficial gateway to Europe. The number one tourist destination of the world, The Land of Earthly Pleasures, France is a bustling yet tranquil, beautiful and enigmatic, traditional and yet progressive country that is and has always been a powerful and yet non-oppressive force in this world.

France has an awe-inspiringly diverse history, that is often as bloody as it is intellectually stimulating. It is rich in culture, ideas, conquests, wars and revolutions; France has really been through hell and back to get where it is now, and remnants of a glorious past are still minutely visible to those who look for it. Always the centre of cultural development, art and ideas; France has been the earliest to implement a democratic government, participated in both the World Wars, suffered one of the worst economic crisis in modern history and still has territories all over the globe that are a humble reminder of its years of world conquest. Currently one of the most progressive societies in the modern world, it is globally the most networked country, supplies a staggering 75% of its electricity through nuclear power, and is the centre of artistic creation in the world.

The French language is renowned all over the world for its lilting and mellifluous tones, and the french people are notorious for being monolingual. Often called the most romantic language, it is widely used across Europe and beyond. In Healthcare and Education, France is one of the most progressive states. It has one of the best healthcare systems in the world primarily because heavy central governmental support with an impressive 77% of all healthcare expenditure covered by the government. Its Education system is also centralised and government funded upto the level of High school. Religiously speaking, France is a secular country with a strict distinction between Church and State. Although, comprised of Catholics by majority, it also has the highest Atheist population in all of Europe. It has deep historical ties with the evolution of Christianity through the middle ages and that is still clearly visible in its architectural landscape.

As a tourist destination, France has a lot to offer. There are beautiful villages like Vienne and Sainte-Enimie, collectively known as Les plus beaux villages de France scattered throughout the country that offer picturesque views and a sense of tranquility on the banks of beautiful rivers, among rolling landscapes, nestled between beautiful mountains. For the adventurous, there are spectacular mountain ranges such as the Massif Central that provide the perfect opportunity for trekking and climbing. The coastline is dotted with numerous beaches such as the one in Saint-Malo that offer stunning natural scenery of mountains, plateaus, cliffs, and beautiful sunset views. Just like the landscape, the climate in France is also diverse. The areas around the South-eastern coastline, especially along the Mediterranean and along the German border have relatively hot summers, while the region along the Alps – which incidentally, is home to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe – can get pretty cold. However, mostly, and especially in the major cities including Paris, the climate is temperate and pleasant all year round. 
France remains world renowned for its rich cultural tradition. The cuisine is regarded as the best in the world, and almost every place has a specialty of its own. The Bordeaux wines, Champagne, and the bemusingly large varieties of cheese are some of its unique varieties. Paris is the art and fashion capital of the world, with some of the biggest global brands such as L’Oréal and Chanel headquartered there. It is also known as the ‘City of Light’ because historically it has been the center of development, a place of education, philosophy and learning. The Louvre is the world’s biggest and the most visited museum, and a historic and a monumental landmark of France. It houses Egyptian and Eastern antiquities, Islamic art, medieval sculptures, legendary paintings and of course, the mysterious smile of The Mona Lisa. The Eiffel Tower hardly needs mentioning and the city is planned in such a way that it is visible at all times from anywhere in the city. France is also home to numerous historical sites which include many religious buildings such as cathedrals and basilicas but also museums, monuments and memorals; and many of these are world heritage sites, as declared by UNESCO. 

The French Riviera along the Côte d’Azur, i.e., the southern coastline overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is an elite tourist region notable for its ski resorts, yachts, high end restaurants, golf courses and stunning beaches. Premier among here is the sovereign state of Monaco, notoriously known as the playground of the rich, famous for its mild climate, beautiful scenery, gambling establishments and race courses. Off the coast, lies the island of Corsica,  famous for its heterogeneous culture, diverse ecology and stylish towns; all nestled within the beautiful lap of nature. In the northeast, Lille is a very academic city with an strong industrial background located close to the Belgium border. It is known for its dynamic city life and active culture. In the West, Nantes is a city overlooking the Atlantic with an immersing and rich history and a landscape known as the greenest in the world. It is claimed by many to be the greatest place to live in the world. 

All in all, France is almost a model prototype of modern civilization. Its medieval cities, picturesque villages, diverse culture, architectural excellence and scenic beauty make it a must-see for tourists and the culturally dynamic life make it an attraction to the whole world. 

Europe 

The cartographical center of the world, Europe is a multilingual, multicultural land of wonders. It is home to 50 countries and 225 languages, which is more than the Americas and Australia combined. Joined by the Schegen Area agreement, half of Europe is borderless, which means no military control and no passports. Wherever you’re in Europe, you’re usually a single hassle free train ride away from immersing yourself in a wholly new culture. 

As a tourist destination, Europe has anything and everything to offer. The southeast coastline of the Baltic sea is dotted with stunning beaches and breathtaking natural scenery, while further inwards, Central Europe is, on numerous levels, the unofficial center of the world. A heterogeneous mix of cultures, it is a center of attraction for the whole world. The scenery consists of vast plains nestled between the majestic Alps, while forests diverse in flaura and fauna are spread throughout. Numerous rivers thread thorough the lands, sustaining the civilization and completing its beauty. France, known as the land of earthly pleasures, is a cultural haven for artists and art-enthusiasts of all kind. Germany is a scenic country representing modern excellence, perhaps inspired by its vastly rich and turbulent history.

Further south, Bulkan countries such as Macedonia and Alabania consist of charming and picturesque towns which offer a unique multicultural and multilingual experience. Italy is famous for its beautiful cities seeped in culture and history, and is also home to Vatican city, the smallest country in the world and the center of Christianity. To the south-east is Greece, the most sunny country in Europe overlooking the Mediterranean Sea; it has visually stunning beaches and a history more ancient than western civilization. Towards the east are the remnants of the USSR Split surrounding the black sea, offering a surprisingly heterogeneous landscape consisting of lakes, forests, vast plains and mountains, and equally as much vineyards, fortifications and monumental buildings. 

Across the Baltic sea, the Nordic countries offer a taste of harsh nature. Uninhabitable icecaps, beautiful snowcapped mountains, active volcanoes and sub-zero temperatures form part of an ever present scenery. The Scandinavian culture there is a beautiful exhibition of human coexistence. The languages are more or less similar, and schools are often trilingual. There is significant political cooperation through the nordic Council and the policies are often focused towards cultural development and preservation. It has a rich history, and the landscape is dotted with citadels and museums as well as forest, lakes, glaciers and geysers. It’s a cooperative society in the midst of beautiful nature. 

Western Europe comprises mainly of the United Kingdom, perhaps historically the greatest political force in the world. The northern islands consist of characteristic rolling landscapes, scenic beauty and temperate climate. Famous for its landscape that consists as much natural beauty as architectural excellence, home to the Prime Meridian timeline, birthplace of Shakespeare and the world’s best Oxford University; England is a multicultural, modern and central force in world. To the south are Spain and Portugual known for their cultural diversity and relatively sunny climate. The cities are known to be lively and friendly, with picturesque landscapes and a rich culture. 

On the whole, Europe can said to be a bustling and beautiful continent, with an infinite variety of tastes, languages, cultures and people,  all packed within a landmass area only slightly larger than that of the United States; a fitting center of the world. 

Pointlessness 

6th September 2016. Today, I start writing. Aalap has suggested me the exercise of writing three pages each morning spontaneously. It is very intriguing exercise and it will be very interesting to find out what I write.

There has been an undercurrent of cluelessness in my life ever since I can remember making conscious decisions. My pretensions with the help of societal standards usually kept this at bay, but it has started coming to the fore recently. It’s often a numbing feeling, with bouts of depression induced by the frequent realization of the ‘pointlessness of life’. Yet, survival instinct cannot be denied, and life goes on.

In the modern world, it is easy to get caught up in the pace of life without finding any real meaning. Those who willingly accept this, and go with it, often find more worldly success than those of us who decline to participate. Being the Wallflowers of the world can often lead to a sense of self righteousness which maybe justified to a certain extent. But the answers that we all are looking for – it is safe to say – none of us are finding them. What use is it then, to continuously strive for something that is always going be out reach?

And, more importantly, why cannot we find these answers? To keep with the pessimistic flow of this article, I am going to explore the possibility that what we’re looking for, simply doesn’t exist. That, Darwin and The Theory of Evolution that we encountered in the previous millennium were right.

So far, I’ve realized the biggest hindrance in the life of us all is Survival. The Wallflowers often blame the economic system of this world and the concept of currency, due to which, all of us are forced to, till a varying extent, unwillingly participate in some aspects of life. But, that is not an economy problem; it is a survival problem. The ancients needed to hunt everyday and protect themselves from natural calamities, while in the modern world, we need to work a 9-to-5 job. Wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever you tell yourself, Survival is the prime motive of life.

And, if that’s true, why do most of us need some other purpose greater than ourselves to find meaning and, consequently, happiness? More importantly, are we kidding ourselves, in trying to convince ourselves that there can be some other purpose greater than ourselves? The bottom line remains, even if something such as the purpose of life exists, we’re not going to find it. We’re beings limited by time, burdened to survive.

Happiness, it is often said, is a choice. I am not sure I agree with that, or maybe I do, till a certain extent. It is a simple statement, with vastly complex implications.

Women Empowerment in The United Arab Emirates

The population of The UAE, as of 2013, was measured at 9.2 million. 1.4 million of this number are Emiratis, and the rest 85% are expatriates. As of 2014, the sex ratio of UAE stands at a horrifying 2.2. This statistic, among other things, is a good illustration of, to put it mildly, how different things are in The UAE when it comes to women, as compared to the rest of the world.

The judicial system of The UAE is derived from Sharia Law. The Emirati women, incidentally all of which are Muslims, are forbidden by law to marry non-Muslims(considered ‘fornication’), and must have permission from their `male guardian’ to remarry. Women are not allowed to wear shorts or sleeveless in public. Pre-marital sex, Homosexuality, Illicit sex and Adultery are all punishable by law. Rape victims are usually criminalized, with women who report rape often being jailed under charges such as ‘engaging in extramarital affairs’, unless they have male Muslim eyewitnesses. The punishments frequently include Flogging (up to 100 lashes) and Stoning (public hitting of stones until death). Amputation and crucifixion are both legal punishments while deportation can be dished out for an ‘offense’ such as kissing in public.

Still, things were much worse in the past. Although that may seem like a small consolation, lately conditions have been improving in the UAE. And although it still seems very set on its ways, the government has had to concede a little because of pressure from global organisations advocating human rights. The recent globally publicised case of a Norwegian woman, Marte Dalelv, stands out. In 2013, when Dalelv, 24 at the time, reported her boss for rape, received a 16-month prison sentence on bogus charges such as `alcohol consumption’. However, under widespread criticism from human rights organisations around the world as well as the western media, she was later given full pardon in addition to allowance to leave the country, while the men involved in this alleged rape were also convicted. In education, especially considering women, there has been drastic improvement in The UAE. According to a report for the Millenium Development Goals – a United nations initiative – in The UAE, the number of women in higher education has risen at a rate unmatched by any other country. As of 2007, women in The UAE have achieved 90% literacy. This report further states that, 95% of women who complete high school go on to higher education and make up a whopping 70% of college graduates in all of The UAE. All these statistics point to a very promising future indeed for the empowerment of women in The UAE.

The current economic and political conditions of The UAE women are mixed. As of 2008-2009, only 21% of its Emirati women comprise a part of the labour force, while 80% of all UAE women are household workers. However, on the other hand, things seem to be improving fast in the business sector with UAE having the highest number of total participation of females in the Gulf Cooperation Council, while women constitute 43% of investors at the Abu Dhabi Security Exchange. The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department appointed the first ever female marriage registrar of the UAE, Fatima Saeed Obaid Al Awani, as recently as 2008, a job hitherto reserved for men until then. The same year, UAE appointed its first female ambassadors, Hassa Al Otaiba in Spain and Sheikha Najla Al Qasimi in Sweden. Another special case to consider is that of Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan al Qasimi, currently the Minister of Foreign Trade (after being promoted from the post of Minister of Economy and Planning which she had held since 2004), who holds the distinction of being the first woman to hold a ministerial post in the country. Rated in Forbes magazine’s 100 most powerful women, Sheikha Lubna has become something of an icon for Emirati women in business.

To conclude, the women in UAE have been hampered much by the culture and the current judicial system, but despite all the ridiculously horrendous atrocities that they are subjected to, their spirit is far from broken and all the recent developments in the business and the education sector seem to herald a promising future.

Olivier Giroud and Arsenal’s Striker Issue

Two years on since the departure of Robin Van Persie and the arrival of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, yet Arsenal’s striker conundrum looks nowhere near solved yet. Arsenal started the 2012-13 season with its front four of Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Podolski and Giroud completely new to each other. Wenger said then that in the absence of Van Persie the Goal-scoring burden will be shared among Arsenal’s attacking players rather than one man taking the responsibility on his shoulders. And it was, with all of these players netting in double figures with Walcott the top-scorer. This season with Walcott injured most of the time, Cazorla not quite replicating his prolific form of last season, and Podolski having been hampered by team-selection on top of a long-term injury(although he has somehow still managed to eclipse his previous season’s tally), the goal-burden has had to be shared even more diversely. Aaron Ramsey, of course, has stepped up quite spectacularly with other players like Jack Wilshere, Tomáš Rosický, Alex Oxelade-Chamberlain and Mesut Özil chipping in too. Olivier Giroud, however, has remained a constant in the team in the last two seasons.
This season he played 51 games for Arsenal in all competitions, more than anyone else in the team, including Per Mertesacker who was the lynchpin of Arsenal’s defense. That’s a staggering amount for a striker, especially for someone like Giroud who exerts himself so much physically in each game. And yet, bizarrely, he was one of the few players in the team who didn’t get injured over the course of the whole season. And one time he did suffer a cut to the foot that required 5 stitches later on, he played for the entire second half of the game with an open foot! In a season where fans have been amazed by Aaron Ramsey’s fitness levels, Giroud has gone unnoticed.
Giroud is somewhat of an anomaly in this age of star strikers. Finishing is not his strongest asset. He doesn’t have the pace that most “world-class strikers” possess. Currently the no.1 striker at one of the biggest football clubs in the world and in the French national team, not so long ago he was playing in the French Ligue 2 and told by one of his coaches that he would never make it at the top level. He has a first touch to match playmakers around the world. His ball control, quick thinking ability and the passing range in and around the box to go with it makes him so much more than just a striker. Unlike most “world-class strikers”, he is not very good with dribbling the ball but his large physique means that he can still always been relied upon when it comes to retaining possession and creating a chance out of tight space in the final third . He excels in finishing in and around the six-yard box. At the start of the season, when the team was in good form, Giroud was playing just like a natural Goal-scorer, making near post runs, showing surprising bursts of pace and finishing off goals using his fantastic first touch. His early season goals against Aston Villa, Sunderland and most notably Tottenham Hotspurs and late-on against West Ham demonstrate that. His finishing ability decreases as he moves farther away from the opposition goal. Although he can score a long-range goal – his shot against Everton that agonizingly clipped the bar and went over in the 1-1 draw at home and most recently his one touch control and sumptuously volleyed goal for France against Norway demonstrate that – but in general, the lack of space and time for strikers in the Premier League coupled with his inability to dribble himself out of tight spaces mean that he is not very prolific 20-odd yards from the goal. He does not have the ability to create a chance for himself out of nothing that most strikers have. He is someone who contributes a lot to the team’s build up play and also relies a lot upon it. When the team suffers, so does Giroud. He runs around a lot, always fighting for the ball and has great defensive work rate without the ball as the first man, setting the tone for the rest of the team. He is a genuine team player, always working hard and has an unselfishness in front of goal that is hardly seen anywhere else in the world, even with the best players. You can see how he enjoys making good passes to create scoring opportunities for his team-mates. When Arsenal are suffering from a lack of pace and drive in the team as happened so often last season due to injuries to Ramsey, Wilshere, Özil, Walcott and Oxelade-Chamberlain; they are unable to penetrate the opposition in the final third. Consequently, the goal-scoring chances that come Arsenal’s way are very few and very difficult. In such scenarios, the striker in the team is expected to step up with a moment of individual quality and convert the odd half-chance that comes his way. However, that is certainly isn’t Giroud’s strong suit and therefore he comes under much scrutiny for that. Instead what Giroud does in such scenarios is that recognizing the team’s difficulty in creating goal-scoring chances, he uses his other abilities to help out the team’s midfielders. In such cases, he becomes much more like a false-9 than a lone striker. He uses his physique and technical ability to good effect, trying to shield the ball, hold up play and in general, making sure as much as he can, that Arsenal keep possession, keep the play ticking over, all the while patiently waiting for a chance.
When he arrived at Arsenal two years ago, the team, suffering from departure of key players, was very new to each other and even now, is still getting to know each other. In such a scenario, Giroud’s style of play has provided Arsenal a cohesion in the final third and in the opposition half that would usually be impossible. In a way of speaking, he knitted the team together by doing the small things right. He has the ability to hold up the ball for the crucial couple of moments so as to give the other attackers time to find space. When the team is suffering from a lack of ideas, he has the ability to instinctively make a flick around the corner or make an incisive pass to quicken the pace or create a chance. His hardworking attitude, mental toughness and desire of improvement has gotten him much praise from the manager and the fans alike. The improvement in his hold-up and technical play since he arrived two seasons ago has been terrific. And yet, despite all his improvement and desire, he suffers from a fundamental problem that he can hardly do anything about: his lack of pace. When one comes to think about it, in a team like Arsenal’s, with so much creativity in the midfield, a forward with pace who could run on to passes behind the defense would make more sense. And in Walcott, Arsenal have such a player, but his lack of upper body strength means that he is not able to compete physically against opposition centre halves and thus finds space much harder to find in central areas, and consequently functions as a winger in Arsenal’s system. Podolski also likes to play centrally but suffers from a similar problem although another reason he is often played on the left wing is that along with his lethal finishing, he also possess a very good crossing ability. In any case, Giroud has performed admirably well for Arsenal over the last two years. He differs considerably well from the strikers that have usually played under Wenger for Arsenal, and yet, from the start he has effortlessly fit into Arsenal’s system and impressed even his critics with his dedication to the team, his work ethic and his commitment. He was especially impressive this season, despite suffering a dip of form in between(along with the rest of the team), but overall, if you ask me, he was one of the top 4 players of the season.
As the clamor for a “world-class striker” continues, one cannot help but wonder what type of forward(s) Arsène Wenger might bring in, if any. To start with, there is certainly a lack of forwards at the club. Currently, Arsenal have four forwards in the squad: Giroud, Walcott, Podolski and Yaya Sanogo. Usually, a team that competes in four competition over the course of the season has 5-6 forwards. But of course, it is not as simple as that. Arsenal’s preference to play a 4-2-3-1 system means that only one of those four forwards plays as the lone striker and the other(s) have to play on the wing(s). Theo Walcott, when fit, invariably starts the game and on the right wing. On the left, Arsène Wenger usually plays someone who can be creative with the ball, perhaps also owing to the abundance of creative midfielders in squad. It is worth noting that on the opening day of the season, Alex Oxelade-Chamberlain started in that role ahead of both Cazorla and Podolski. In the lone-striker role, Giroud is clearly first-choice and second-choice striker Yaya Sanogo is described by an overwhelming majority of the people as quite ‘raw’. Personally, I am not quite sure. Last season, in the appearances he made, he showed quite promising signs. Like Giroud, he has an imposing physique but unlike Giroud he also has decent pace. His link-up play is nowhere near at the level of Giroud, but the basic ingredients are there and it will improve. He was particularly impressive in the matches against Bayern Munich and Liverpool. Although he didn’t score in any of those games, and in fact hasn’t scored his first Arsenal goal yet; the way he battled against the imposing centre-halves of those teams and his gameplay in general was impressive, and one can easily see how he can be a regular first-team starter for Arsenal in the future. If he steps up his game during the pre-season, he can easily continue the role of second-choice striker in the squad to good effect. If not, then the question of a backup striker to Giroud remains.
But the real problem is that when Walcott is missing, aside from Oxelade-Chamberlain and young prospect Serge Gnabry, there is no one in the Arsenal team who can offer the pace in the final third, and that is a significant problem, especially considering the way that Arsenal play. As I discussed above, in such situations, Arsenal lack penetration in the final third and Giroud’s effectiveness also decreases. Simply put, when a team has so many players who can pass the ball in behind defenses, it also needs players who can run onto them.
So, for that reason, I believe that a forward who has good pace and the finishing ability to complement it is more of a priority than someone who is pretty much like Giroud and will play the third-choice, second-choice or even the first-choice striker ahead of Giroud. Of course, an all-round striker, someone who is blessed with pace and strength, who has the vision and the technical ability to link-up play and is also a clinical finisher, would be Arsenal’s best bet. Such a player would be the perfect fit to play in the lone-striker role and would also be able to play in the wings. However, such players are few and unlikey to be available and I wouldn’t be too hopefeul about it. However, I do believe that Yaya Sanogo has the potential to develop into such a complete all-round striker, but how long it takes him, we’ll just have to wait and see.