Giroud Benefited From Özil Not Playing
This might seem like a strange thing to say to some but make complete sense to others. Before I get started I just want to make it very clear that I am not advocating benching our record signing on a regular basis.
In the first half against Sunderland today Giroud could have scored a hattrick, instead he came away with a respectable haul of two goals, from excellent finishes, and a delightful assist.
Sure, Sunderland weren’t troublesome opposition and Giroud has benefited from a rest but I also think he benefited from Özil not playing today.
So far this season we have heard that Özil is wasted on Giroud, which I have always thought was a harsh and fallacious statement. Giroud was excellent today and whilst a part of that is down to recharged batteries and possibly a bit of not wanting to lose his place to the impressive Sanogo a lot of it is down to the way the game was played.
We all know of Giroud’s strengths, his positioning, his movement, his hold-up and link play and flicked balls for midfield runners.
We all know that one of Özil’s strengths is his perfect balls behind defenders.
We all know that Giroud is rarely going to run on to one of these balls.
We all know all of these things so why does Giroud get so much abuse?
Impatience. It all boils down to impatience. Giroud was fantastic today because he had midfielders making runs off of him and playing balls to the post that he can get on to. The players around him know his game and know his limitations. They adapt their play to him because it is what is best for the team. Özil isn’t quite there yet. That is not said to denigrate him, the opposite, it is said to exonerate him (and Giroud).
When Ramsey and Walcott were in the team they benefited both Giroud and Özil. Walcott and Ramsey would make runs off of Giroud and Walcott had the ability to get on to the balls Özil is so used to playing for his old Real Madrid team-mates.
The team that played today all pretty much played together last year, they know one another’s game. They know how to play to Wenger’s system. It wasn’t perfect last season, Podolski, Santi and Giroud didn’t click straight away and we didn’t see the benefit of the system we play until the final 10 games of the season.
When Özil came in no-one expected him to adapt immediately and thankfully, due to the form of Ramsey and others, his integration into the team went quite smoothly but when Walcott and Ramsey got injured and we didn’t have players stepping up to perform the jobs they were performing attention turned to our £42.5m man and people expected him to carry it. Some maybe even thought he was carrying the team during those months.
Özil still needs time to adapt to the league and the team and when he does he will learn to adapt his game to suit Giroud’s strengths. Giroud is a good player but he has his limitations. He cannot adapt to Özil, he cannot magically become the type of striker that will run in behind defenders but Mesut can adapt. He is not limited in the ways Giroud is. He can adapt to the players around him the way Bergkamp did.
Bergkamp served the team and elevated the players around him just by being there and that is what Mesut will do once he has had some time. Someone said to me recently that Özil puts the ball where people ought to be. That demonstrates what an incredible player he is but if you read Dennis’ book he tells you he tried to play the ball where he knew people would be (quite a different thing) and if they didn’t get on to the ball he felt it was because he didn’t play a perfect enough pass.
For the rest of the season Mesut will have to adapt his game to suit Giroud but fortunately with the return of Ramsey soon that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. In the long-term adapting his game when Giroud plays will only benefit him and the team but hopefully we will also get a striker this season that will complement the game Özil has already and that way we can get the most out of all of our players.
In short, Giroud benefited today from players who know his game and utilised it to effect an excellent 4-1 victory. All of the team will adapt to Özil and he them, given time. So let’s not say Giroud is not good enough, or Özil’s talent is wasted and just recognise this for what it is, players learning to work in perfect balance together.
One last thing. The entire team was excellent today but I have to say I cannot help but smile every time I see Rosicky on the ball. What a player that man is.
Up the Arse!
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