Arsenal Look To 20 Goal A Season Striker
Olivier Giroud. I thought it best to warn you upfront that this article is about Giroud. As I do with all Giroud posts I want to clarify that whilst I am a fan of Olivier’s I also believe him to be a limited striker who would benefit from having a world class player in front of him.
After a very rewarding but ultimately knackering first week with a new baby I managed to keep my eyes open and my mouth shut as I watched Arsenal fight back against West Ham last week to win 3-1. Being too tired to be critical I found myself just enjoying the match and even thinking Arsenal looked most likely to take the points even after they went 1-0 down.
It was good to be “live” again with Arsenal having watched the FA Cup Semi-Final in bits and pieces with my newborn asleep in my arms and generally catching up with Twitter and Arsenal news in the wee hours. Thankfully, after a few days of poor and intermittent internet connection at the hospital, I discovered the Fanzo app and create my own Arsenal channel with all of the latest Arsenal news. It felt good to be connected again and to have all of the news in one place. You can download it here http://bit.ly/QB5YXv.
So, Olivier Giroud. Giroud’s main contribution, or at least his most memorable, was his stunning strike that took him to the 20-goal mark for the season. The perfect control to take a ball with pace deftly to his feet that close to the goal is something to be applauded and the exquisite finish with his “bad foot” was the icing on the cake.
What made that goal even better though was the fact it was his 20th of the season. People have spoken for a while now about having a 20 goal a season striker but I’m sure that has been increased to 25 or 30 now.
20 goals in a season for a maligned player who is supposedly not good enough to wear the shirt is an incredible feat. Even more so when you consider three of his most potent assist makers and assist takers have missed a huge chunk of the season. And that isn’t even mentioning his off the field problems messing with his head, the fans on his back all the time or him playing well over 60 games already this season.
He isn’t Robin van Persie and never will be. He also wasn’t a direct replacement for Robin van Persie and people need to stop making that comparison, consciously or subconsciously.
The way he took that goal certainly demonstrated he has the ability even if he doesn’t always have the confidence.
“The quality of the goal gives him, I think, confidence again, gives him credibility again for people who questioned his ability, so that is important.”
Wenger on Giroud
It is fair to say that Giroud has missed some chances in big games but that should not be used as a stick to beat him with. It should be used as a way of respectfully saying “Look. Giroud plays well and scores against the mid-table teams and the physical sides and that is where is game is best suited for us but we really need someone who can step up against the big teams and fire us to the title. Giroud is a very good player but he can’t do it on his own. I would love to see him stick around and support a world class player like [insert name of your choice]”.
He isn’t a very fast player and is unlikely to make many runs through the middle or into space and our players know that so why is he upbraided so much? Surely the fault lies with the players who are expecting him to do something he is incapable of?
He has gone through a difficult period but looks to have gained a second wind after a languid 2-3 months where he was running on empty.
“He has done well. He has gone, like Mesut Ozil, through a more difficult period recently. It was a bit physical and mental as well with what happened to him. He is a strong lad, strong mentality, strong positive guy. He has a great mentality that’s what I think got him back.”
Maybe Wenger could have given him more of a rest and he himself admits he could have helped Giroud by resting him but also conceded he was wary of giving him too much competition for his spot.
“Every challenge he goes into is physical. He’s not a guy who moves away from people to get the ball. He’s a guy who fights with people to get the ball. When he comes out of the game he has 50 fights behind him. That is more demanding than the guy who just runs away. It’s difficult for a striker because you need confidence and because you see it also with a goalkeeper. You need to be challenged but not too much because if you know that after the first mistake you make you are out then you are not good. If you know you do not score for one game then another player comes in, you are not confident enough. It’s difficult to find the right balance. If you look across Europe all the big teams play basically with the same striker.”
Was that a mistake by Wenger? Decide that for yourself but it certainly exonerates Giroud just a little.
Arsenal have four games left this season and if Giroud can get 5 goals in those four games then there can be no doubt about his individual quality and maybe the chants of “Giroud is rubbish” will turn into chants of “Giroud needs help”.
Arsenal want to finish as high as possible in the top four and win the FA Cup to cap off the season and they’ll be looking to their 20 goal a season striker to help them achieve those aims.
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