Olivier Giroud’s goal against West Brom reminded us that he can be useful on the day, and managing the player’s expectations will be the key for Arsenal to be able to compete this season.
Squad management has become a crucial part of the job these days with up to 25 players in training and only 18 being selected for the matchday squad and then of course there’s the main task of selecting the starting 11 for the game.
If we look at Olivier Giroud, despite losing his place up front to Alexis Sanchez in unusual circumstances, he is still fighting for the club and giving 100% either from the start or coming off the bench.
Following an excellent Euro 2016, he was given some time off to rest and missed the start of the season and then was quickly injured. In the meantime, Arsene Wenger’s tactical switch worked and Alexis Sanchez therefore became Arsenal’s number one striker through no fault of Giroud’s himself.
Now the trickiest part of management is maintaining the spirit of the non starting players, so that they can perform when called upon, and then go back to the bench to be back-up players or even in the stand for the fringe players.
There is a lot of nurturing and man management to keep players like Giroud or Gibbs on their best behaviour and ready to deliver when they get the chance to play. As per Wenger in an interview on Arsenal.com
“Our job, when you’re a football player, you have to be always ready. That’s part of the job. When you’re selected, it’s fantastic. When you’re not selected, you have to be ready. And the players who are always ready when they get their chance, they are there. And the players who feel sorry for themselves, they get their chance and they give you one more reason to justify why you didn’t select them. The fighters are always ready”
As we all know once Arsene Wenger has a settled starting 11, he is not likely to change it for the big games and does not really like rotation either, except for the League Cup of course.
It is a very complex situation for those players, because they have to sacrifice themselves for the team and deal with their frustration to turn it into something positive. And then perform on the pitch. Only the strongest players on the psychological side can actually do this and other will just moan and disrupt the atmosphere. It’s a recipe for failure.
If Arsenal are to win the League or any trophy this season, Arsene Wenger will have to work very hard to keep the non-starting players motivation at the highest level so that they can consistently perform on the day, when they are called upon.
This is something that has not happened at the club for a long time and it needs to change.