Football Expert & Columnist
Glenn Hoddle: Arsenal showing signs of champions but still need to buy striker
Glenn Hoddle says Arsenal's dogged win at Newcastle is a sign they could be champions.
Last Updated: 30/12/13 10:58am
The Gunners will go into 2014 top of the Premier League table after Olivier Giroud's second-half header secured a 1-0 win over Newcastle at St James' Park and Sky Sports expert Hoddle says Arsene Wenger's side showed great character to grind out the win.
Hoddle said: "Arsenal were not at their best by any means.
"They couldn't keep the ball like you normally see with Arsenal and get the players forward into the attacking areas, but they really battled at the end there.
"Newcastle threw everything at them and put the big guys on - but they dealt with it and went to a sort of back five to deal with it defensively.
"It's a great sign if you can win, away from home particularly, not playing particularly well and that's the sign of champions."
"It was good to see them hang on to a game. I've seen them in the past and Arsene wouldn't change his philosophy and they would keep playing open football and they would get done in the last few minutes.
"They threw Jenkinson on, they tightened it up and they knew that Newcastle with the two up top were going to throw high balls in to the box and they dealt with the second ball. That's a little bit of a change in their philosophy and rightly so.
"For 10 minutes of the game, why not throw out your principles and defend and get the points on the board, get down the motorway and say 'we're top of the league'. That's what they showed today, great character."
Still need a striker
Giroud's goal tally for club and country this season stands at 11 in 32 games and the north London club's reliance on the French hitman worries Hoddle, who thinks Arsenal must invest in a striker when the January transfer window opens if they are to challenge for the title.
Hoddle said: "Arsenal desperately need a striker if they're going to go on and win the league this year, without any shadow of a doubt.
"It's not easy in the January transfer window, you don't normally get the best deals and you have to pay over the odds."
Fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville shared Hoddle's sentiments on Super Sunday adding, "I think they could get better. They could potentially give some relief to Giroud in respect of signing another striker.
"I think it's a big ask for him to go all the way through the season with the amount of games he's been asked to play.
"They're doing brilliantly well, they really are. They're showing a lot of spirit and character.
"Today they were missing a couple of players in Ozil and Ramsey who have been stars for them at times this season, so for me it's a been a really good first half of the season."