Since his multi-million move from the then French champions Montpellier, Olivier Giroud has established himself as Arsenal’s only centre forward thanks to the lack of stern jostles for the position. Departure of Robin van Persie, penny-pinching attitude of Arsene Wenger and the aptitude of his fellow strikers made him the apple of Arsene Wenger’s eyes as the Frenchman found his name on the Emirates Stadium club’s teamsheet week in and week out.
On statistical ground, he’s already in the same league as the likes of Wayne Rooney and Edin Dzeko as the left footed striker added a whopping number of twenty two goals and twelve assists to his name in the fifty one games that he had featured during the course of this campaign. Only the double winner of 2014 in Luis Suarez had claimed more of assists than him. Looking at him from a distance and checking his Wikipedia profile might tempt anyone to assert that he was an absolute bargain but football is certainly more than just numbers.
Perhaps, he would have been a praiseworthy footballer had he belonged to the era of goal poachers. In this century, especially with managers like Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho opting for centre forwards who could be a part of the buildup instead of simply tapping the ball home, it’s one of the biggest gambles to bet that he is a complete striker for he is not. Consider yourself lucky if you had seen him dribble past the centrebacks or tantalizing a defender or performing a dummy thereby humiliating a goalkeeper because the odds are that you are more likely to witness McDonald’s raising the minimum wage than the aforementioned events.
When the team gravely wants Olivier Giroud to make a flick past a rookie defender to add a goal to Arsenal’s name, all that he does is dribble directly to him that he actually surpasses a straight ruler in the straightness of his course. Scoring seventeen goals and twenty two goals in the first two seasons is no mean feat but the way that he had done it is not so appealing as it may seem. If it had been someone as aggressive as Romelu Lukaku instead of him, he would have simply surpassed Luis Suarez having got the likes of Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla in the squad. Most of his goals were purely tap-ins and he was even lousy enough to test the nerve of Arsenal supporters as he failed to nail it when he could have in the Football Association Cup final against Hull City that ended 3-2 in favour of Arsenal.
Nobody can deny the fact that he is one amazing striker but he is below par for a renounced club like Arsenal. A sizable number of Arsenal supporters claim that the French goal poacher could only get better if someone of the caliber of Karim Benzema puts pen to the paper with Arsene Wenger in presence. It is indeed true that he would yearn for polishing his finish and style of play once some sort of competition arises but then Arsenal were never accustomed to playing with two centre forwards and Olivier Giroud would only be frustrated owing to lack of playing time and ultimately, he will hand in a transfer request.
He deserves some credit for his braces against Southampton, Sunderland and Everton but then, he is surely not worthy of his incredible statistics. If you think otherwise, own a season ticket or watch Arsenal every week at least.