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Olivier Giroud: Is He Greatly Under-Appreciated at Arsenal?

In all my years as an Arsenal supporter, I’ve seen many strikers leave their mark while wearing the famous Red and White of the North London outfit. Ian Wright was a lethal goal scorer in his days and with 184 goals to his name, he remains one of the greatest players the club has ever heard. However, there was the King himself, Thierry Henry, that wowed the fans with his va va voom style of play that endeared him to the hearts of fans forever. Even with 228 goals to his name, the King wasn’t just a great goal scorer, he was a scorer of great goals.

Then there was the Robin van Persie era. The Flying Dutchman is currently on the bad books of many Arsenal fans when he opted to join the ‘enemy’ but the latter period of his Arsenal career was flooded with a lot of goals, a whole damn lot. Van Persie was Arsenal’s get-out-of-jail-free card in many situations and with 132 goals to his name, it looked like a big void was left to fill when he departed in the start of the 2012/13 campaign. With van Persie gone, the Gunners had proactively signed two left-footed forwards to ease the pain of losing such an important attacking outlet.

Which brings us to good ol’ Olivier Giroud. He began his career in the French Ligue 2 and played in a couple of clubs before getting his breakthrough at Montpellier Herault SC. Giroud was instrumental in the club’s maiden Ligue 1 title in the 2011/12 campaign and when he joined the club at the point when van Persie was departing for greener pastures. With no other striker coming after the Dutchman was sold, there was a certain level of expectation, or should I say burden, that was placed on Giroud’s shoulders.

After smashing in 39 goals in his first two seasons at Arsenal, many of the fans still believed that Olivier Giroud wasn’t good enough to lead the line at Arsenal. The fans want a 30-goal a season striker that would also score in big games. Apparently, Giroud turned out to be a flat-track bully that only scored “lower teams” but he couldn’t do the same against the big guns of the Premier League. Last season, the fans were elated with the pursuits of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, even if the moves didn’t come to fruition. That season, Giroud scored 22 goals in 51 games, Higuain netted 24 goals in 46 games and Suarez smashed in 31 goals in 37 games. Obviously good goalscoring returns for exceptional strikers in good form.

At the start of the new campaign, Giroud scored a late equalizer and suffered a long-term injury and some fans labeled Giroud’s injury as a “blessing in disguise” because they believed that Giroud’s injury would force Wenger to remove the dust of the Arsenal cheque book and sign that striker from Planet Krypton that would score goals in industrial quantities like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Then that guy, Danny Welbeck, arrives. Certainly not from Krypton and he certainly won’t give you 30 goals a season.

Since his return from injury, Giroud has scored Manchester United, Newcastle (brace), Liverpool, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough (brace), Crystal Palace and most recently, Everton which is a return of 10 goals in his last 17 games. This also took his overall tally to 51 goals in 119 games for Arsenal, which is pretty much impressive if you ask me. All those folks that made their voices heard about how Giroud doesn’t score in ‘big games’ were made to eat their words. Still it’s ‘not good enough’ for some Arsenal fans. Many they have watched Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi score so many goals with consummate ease and would prefer to see the same at the Emirates.

The table below shows the top five leagues in Europe and their top goal scorers.

LEAGUE LEADING GOAL SCORER (CLUB) GAMES PLAYED GOALS IN LEAGUE OVERALL GOALS
English Premier League Diego Costa (Chelsea) 28 17 18
English Premier League Sergio Aguero (Man City) 28 17 22
Spanish La Liga Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 36 30 39
Italian Serie A Mauro Icardi (Inter) 31 14 19
Italian Serie A Carlos Tevez (Juventus) 28 14 20
German Bundesliga Arjen Robben (FC Bayern) 25 17 19
French Ligue 1 Alex Lacazzete (OL) 30 21 25

Yes, we all want that dream striker that would give you 30-goals a season but looking at this list, you’d notice that they are the main goalscoring outlets in their respective clubs. At Arsenal, that load has been equally shared – Alexis Sanchez leads the charts with 18 goals, Santi Cazorla has eight, Welbeck seven, Ramsey six and even Ozil has popped in four. Giroud currently has 12 goals and in the form he’s in, I expect him to shatter the 20-goal mark sooner rather than later.

Strikers are naturally judged by goals but Arsenal fans that watch Giroud week in week out will know that he offers a lot to the team. In this brilliant piece on Mesut Ozil by North London is Red, the writer mentioned how Giroud’s offensive work is underrated. The striker’s link-up play is up there with the very best and his selfless nature has seen him notch up some assist for his teammates. Michael Owen can be very annoying on TV sometimes, but he was effusive in his praise for the French forward,

“Today he never shirked [against Everton]. Some of the lesser strikers would think about going missing a little bit. He was always involved.

“He makes bad balls into good balls. He can be that link player, he sets up chances, he gets in the box, he gets into the good areas. He is a good finisher with both feet and his head. I am really impressed.”

Many Arsenal fans would feel that Olivier Giroud might not bang in the goals like Robin van Persie, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, but shouldn’t they at least wait till the end of the season before they access and reevaluate the striker’s performance this season?

At least, players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have publicly praised his contributions to the team. I feel some of the fans should follow suit.

Sayonara.

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Olivier Giroud: How Badly Was he Missed?

Alexis Sanchez celebrates with his team-mates. Picture: PA

They say you never know what you have until you lose it.

After smashing in 39 goals in his first two seasons at Arsenal, many of the fans still believed that Olivier Giroud wasn’t good enough to lead the line at Arsenal. The fans want a 30-goal a season striker that would also score in big games. Apparently, Giroud turned out to be a flat-track bully that only scored “lower teams” but he couldn’t do the same against the big guns of the Premier League. Last season, the fans were elated with the pursuits of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, even if the moves didn’t come to fruition.

Fast forward to the start of this season. Giroud scored a sumptuous strike to put the icing on the cake in the 3-0 trouncing of Manchester City in the Community Shield. Many folks were even quick to play down the best goal on the afternoon, citing that it was just a pre-season friendly and Manchester City didn’t take the game seriously. Then for reasons best known to Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf, Arsene Wenger opts for Yaya Sanogo ahead of Giroud in the curtain raiser against Crystal Palace. Giroud then played a significant role with a late equalizer against Everton then it happened, another terrible long term injury to one of the team’s most integral players.

Some fans labelled Giroud’s injury as a “blessing in disguise” because they believed that Giroud’s injury would force Wenger to remove the dust of the Arsenal cheque book and sign that striker from Planet Krypton that would score goals in industrial quantities like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Then that guy, Danny Welbeck, arrives. Certainly not from Krypton and he certainly won’t give you 30 goals a season.

A nice debut against Manchester City (who can forget that lobbed effort that clipped the post), a rather dismal outing agianst Dortmund then his goal arrived in Villa Park. A sign of things to come all season long? It was definitely to early to judge. Welbeck rose to prominence following his magnificent hat-trick against Galatasaray and watching the boy play so well on the night made the fans feel that he was the man to lead the line for years to come. He showed good reactions to score a late goal against Hull.

Then came the drought.

Anderlecht, Sunderland, Burnley, Anderlecht again, Swansea, Manchester United, Dortmund. Arsenal won only three games from the teams in the aforementioned list but the most significant thing about this run of fixtures was that Welbeck struggled to make an impact. Fine, it’s a team sport and messiahs like Alexis Sanchez had to pop up with the goods so the reliance on a player like Welbeck was slim to none. It’s also worth noting that Giroud scored an awesome goal against Manchester United but it was more or less a consolation.

After a frantic wait for his goal, he got his breakthrough in the Hawthorns and it was good seeing the English forward back on the score sheet. The game against Southampton was key to the Gunners because of its impact on the table. Thanks to their amazing start to the season, the Saints were six points ahead of the Gunners with six points so a win was paramount.

On the night, Welbeck was found wanting yet again. His passing was somewhat erratic and his finishing, boy. In his bid to get something out of the game, Arsene Wenger, in his infinite wisdom, decided that it was time for Giroud to aid the team and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the player that was sacrificed to bring on the Frenchman. The boo boys made their voices heard but all they could do was boo right? They couldn’t change the fact that Giroud was on the pitch and Ox on the bench.

The Frenchman almost made an instant impact with a lovely volley that was parried by the excellent Forster. Then a moment of sheer intelligence was displayed by the real OG. With Welbeck on the defender’s blind side, Giroud executed one of his trademark flicks that put the Englishman through on goal. Welbeck had the pace to evade the defender but the finish was lacking as Forster parried his shot away.

That moment showed that playing 4-4-2 can certainly reap dividends for the club. Giroud offering that physical presence, aerial ability and intelligence to hold up and link up play with his teammates. Welbeck offering his raw reserves of pace and that work rate that inspires his teammates to do even more.

In the end, the Gunners sang praises for Alexis Sanchez for scoring the goal that gave the team all three points but everyone that watched the team well can attest to the fact that Giroud’s introduction sparked a revival which ultimately led to Arsenal getting all three points.

Whether Giroud starts ahead of Welbeck in the coming weeks is left for the manager to decide, but his cameo against West Brom and more recently, Southampton, shows that he can work well with his pacey counterparts.

How badly was he missed?

Sayonara

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Olivier Giroud’s Injury: How Will Arsenal Cope in his Absence?

Damage: Arsenal will find out how bad Olivier Giroud's injury is on Monday after the striker underwent a scan

Goodison Park. The same ground were the Gunners were thrashed resoundingly in April.

The first half performance against Everton was shambolic. The Ox had some half chances but the erratic defending that allowed Seamus Coleman to get that kind of space was mind-boggling. Arsenal fans may complain that Per Mertesacker was fouled by Romelu Lukaku, Calum Chambers shouldn’t have lounged in for a tackle that wasn’t successful, the defense went to sleep, or that Steven Naismith was offside but at half time, the Gunners were on the brink of another shameful defeat and Arsene Wenger had to respond.

What did the Arsenal manager do? He took off his £32m marquee signing and brought on Olivier Giroud! I’m sure some fans were exasperated. He had a torrid outing against Besiktas, could he fare any better on Saturday evening? He latched onto an Oxlade-Chamberlain dinked ball and launched a shot into orbit from point blank range. Arrrrgh, typical wasteful Giroud! On the turn he fired a Jack Wilshere pass just wide off the mark.

When was he going to score? How many more chances does he need before he finds the back of the net?

Mesut Ozil attempted a through ball that was intercepted but it kindly fell to Giroud’s path but he lashed the ball straight at Tim Howard. With seven minutes to go, Santi Cazorla threaded a neat drilled pass that was poked home by Ramsey. 2-1. Game on!

Everton vs. Arsenal: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Right at the death, Giroud’s moment of glory arrived – an inch-perfect cross from Nacho Monreal was headed home by the Frenchman to give the Gunners an equalizer. The much-maligned forward scored yet another crucial goal for Arsenal but a certain faction of the fans do not believe that he’s good enough to lead the line for the Gunners.

Player Games Played Goals Scored Result-Changing goals* Points* First Goals
Olivier Giroud 36 16 8 22 8
Luis Suarez 33 31 8 21 7
Daniel Sturridge 26 (3) 21 9 21 6
Yaya Toure 35 20 6 18 5
Wayne Rooney 27 (2) 17 4 10 4
Sergio Aguero 20 (3) 17 4 11 6

*The table above shows some stats from last season, comparing the “terrible” Giroud with the rest of his peers. Result changing goals are goals scored that gave the team a win or a draw, regardless of the order they were scored. The points reflected on this table are generated from the player that ultimately gave his team a win (3) or a draw (1). Yes, when comparing strikers’ performances last season, Giroud won more points for Arsenal than these other individuals for their respective teams.

In the Premier League last season, Giroud single-handedly gave Arsenal all three points against Tottenham (home), Southampton (home), Newcastle (away) and West Brom (away). He scored crucial goals against Fulham (away – match opener), Sunderland (away – match opener), Crystal Palace (away – match winner), Aston Villa (away – match winner), Southampton (away – match opener) and Sunderland (home – match opener).

Despite all these, the Frenchman isn’t fully appreciated by a faction of the fans. They are quick to point out how he has failed to score against the so-called “big teams”, and now he has become a lightning rod for vitriolic abuse when things aren’t going on well on the pitch. Funnily enough, even the great Luis Suarez failed to score against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. These are part of the “so-called big teams” Giroud couldn’t score right? This is a striker that has scored more goals than Wayne Rooney Shrek since he joined the club in 2012. A striker that has been very integral to Arsenal’s attacking style of play.

Giroud’s role is not that of an out and out goalscoring striker. He is not Thierry Henry, he is not Robin van Persie and he is not Ian Wright. He scores goals, and reasonably impressively too if you look at them objectively. 40 goals and 24 assists in 101 appearances is enviable. Van Persie was a goal in 2.09 games kind of striker and Giroud is a goal in 2.5 games kind of striker. – North London is Red.

However, there is a saying that you don’t know what you have until you lose it, Arsene Wenger has expressed his concerns over the fitness of the French forward,

“It is a big game on Wednesday, we hope we can recover. I hope we have not lost Giroud in the final minute. It’s a stretched ankle. It doesn’t look good.”

While we hope for Giroud to pass a late fitness test for the crucial Champions League qualifier against Besiktas and possibly the Premier League clash against newbies, Leicester, before the international break, the Gunners will have to explore the possibility of playing both games without the forward.

Able replacements for Giroud?

Looking at other alternatives, Yaya Sanogo has deputized in Giroud’s stead this season but he has had injury problems to contend with and I have major doubts about his fitness for the aforementioned games. Lukas Podolski is a player that had featured in a handful of games as a center forward last season but he failed to make his mark in that position. Podolski recently rejoined the team from his extended break but he has been heavily linked with a move out of the Emirates this summer and he took to Instagram to release what seemed to look like a farewell note,

“Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out. Opportunities don’t happen, you create them! #StayFocus #NoExcuses #FightForYourGoals #BeStrong #Champs #Victory #Glory #Poldi #aha”

This leaves us with two more plausible alternatives – Joel Campbell and Alexis Sanchez.

Joel Campbell came to the limelight following his performances at the World Cup and he was a shining star at the Emirates Cup but the fans wondered when he was going to get a chance to strut his stuff at the club. With the Gunners trailing in Goodison Park, Arsene Wenger handed the Costa Rican forward his debut for Jack Wilshere and he didn’t put a foot wrong in his cameo performance. Will the manager risk playing Campbell through the middle in a crucial game like Besiktas? I think not.

That leaves us with the final option – Alexis Sanchez.

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He was substituted at half time

Alexis, as he preferred to be called, played predominantly on the right flank in Barcelona, largely due to the presence of the mecurial Lionel Messi that occupied the center forward position. Nonetheless, he scored 47 goals in 141 appearances for the Catalans with 21 of those goals scored last season, which made his arrival at Arsenal to send the fans into party mode.

After a couple of preseason encounters, Alexis created an assist for Laurent Koscielny in his competitive debut against Crystal Palace and he was a driving force in the first leg against Besiktas in Turkey, showing off his work rate and creativity, even though Giroud, unfortunately, wasn’t in the same wave length.

However, Sanchez had a below-par performance against Everton and he lasted on the pitch for just 45 minutes.

Sanchez's heat map vs Everton

Sanchez’s heat map vs Everton (via Squawka)

Sanchez failed to influence the game the way he would have liked and he drifted away from his deployed position, giving his team no focal point in attack, something Giroud would never do. The fact that a creator-in-chief like Mesut Ozil was deployed on the left didn’t help his cause either. According to Squawka, Alexis only completed 63% of his passes, the lowest of any Arsenal player on the day, and he failed to create any chances either. He also only completed one take-on, which is a disappointing return for a player of his calibre.

However, Arsene Wenger stated that he has no worries about Sanchez’ early season form and believes that he would regain his confidence as the campaign progresses. While we still wait on the team’s medical staff to provide encouraging info about Giroud’s ankle, Arsenal is more than capable in finding a forward that would do well in his absence.

In my honest opinion, that forward is Alexis Sanchez.

Sayonara.

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Olivier Giroud: Reviewing the 20 Goals Scored by the Striker this Season

 

 

 

Leading the line!!

“I enjoy my stats because when you are a striker you think that we are looking for the stats and assists as well. I am OK with my stats but I know the team will need me again for the last [four] Premier League games. So I need to score again and again.” – Olivier Giroud

Down the years, Arsenal has always had its fair share of attacking talent that have wowed the fans, thus epitomizing the club’s attractive style of football. While the likes of Ted Drake and Cliff Bastin scored for fun in the days of old, modern day Arsenal fans were honored to watch Ian Wright decimate opposition defenses before the baton was passed to Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, two of the finest foreign acquisitions the club has ever made.

With the Henry era reaching its climax, Arsenal unleashed goalscoring machines like Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie to the fold and just when we thought that the club it had its predatory clinical finisher in the form of Eduardo da Silva, injury robbed him off his confidence and his career plunged downwards before Shakhtar Donetsk came around and offered him a way out.

With van Persie opting to join Manchester United, Arsene Wenger keep the faith with his new recruit from SC Montpellier Herault and in 91 appearances thus far, the French forward has smashed in 37 goals, with 20 of them coming this season. Despite his frailties and criticisms, scoring 20 goals in your second season at a top-level club like Arsenal is a good return from a center forward. With four games left, I don’t expect Giroud to reach the 30-goal mark but scoring 25 goals could be a realistic target for the French striker.

In a somewhat chronological order, Gooner Daily wants to relive those splendid moments from Giroud that proved that he’s still the club’s alpha-dog in attack.

AUGUST 2013

Goal No. One against Aston Villa at the Emirates

The home side went off to a flyer when a Rosicky through ball located an unmarked Ox that bore down on goal before picking his spot and locating the red-hot Olivier Giroud. As you would expect from a striker on form, the Frenchman’s one-timed shot eased past Brad Guzan to send the Emirates into raptures.

Goal No. Two against Fenerbahce in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium

Arsenal drove a nail in Fenerbahce’s coffin when Kadlec fouled Walcott in the box. Giroud stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way with a well-taken spot kick. That turned out to be his last contribution as he was withdrawn for Lukas Podolski

Goal No. Three against Fulham at Craven Cottage

the breakthrough arrived when Olivier Giroud showed great improvisation as well as a cool head after blocking Aaron Ramsey’s shot to slot the ball past Stockdale in goal.

SEPTEMBER 2013

London boy: Olivier Giroud scores and celebrates the opening goal of the game at the Emirates

Goal No. Four against Tottenham at the Emirates

After some good work in midfield from Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman found Rosicky on the right and the Czech maestro wasted to time in sending Walcott through in behind the Tottenham rearguard. Walcott looked up and fashioned a chance for an onrushing Olivier Giroud whose finish was sheer class. An exquisite deft touch that was more than enough as it skipped past Lloris in goal.

Goal No. Five against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

Arsenal’s opening goal arrived in swift fashion as Kieran Gibbs dinked a ball into Ozil’s path. The German schemer saw an onrushing Olivier Giroud with those orbicular eyes of his and he cushioned a first time pass that was finished aplomb with a neat one-timed shot from Giroud.

OCTOBER 2013

Goal No. Six against Napoli at the Emirates

Arsenal doubled their money when Giroud latched unto a loose pass, teed up Ozil and continued his run into the box. The German schemer used his first touch to give himself some space, went to Napoli’s byline and squared the ball for Giroud. They rest they say, was history.

Goal No. Seven against Borussia Dortmund at the Emirates

Following a good Bacary Sagna cross (after a plethora of erratic crosses), Giroud showed his predatory instincts to capitalize on a defensive gaffe between Neven Subotic and Roman Weidenfeller to blast in a free clear-cut chance at goal that leveled the contest before halftime.

Goal No. Eight against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

13/14: Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal - Olivier Giroud

Right on the death, Giroud instigated a counter attack with a neat flick to Ramsey that went on a run and waited for the right moment for the Frenchman to arrive at the box. With Giroud in sight, Ramsey gently cushioned the ball above a defender to the path of Giroud that nodded his effort in to put the game beyond doubt.

NOVEMBER 2013

Goals No. Nine and 10 against Southampton at the Emirates

The match opener arrived in a rather hilarious fashion as Clyne supplied a simple back pass to his goalkeeper and with Giroud closing down on Boruc he decided to invoke the spirits of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi to attempt a futile effort of dribbling Giroud. The Frenchman robbed the Pole and slammed the ball into an unguarded net.

Jose Fonte wanted to exchange jerseys with Mertesacker in the box leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Giroud took responsibility and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it two.

DECEMBER 2013

Goal No. 11 against Newcastle at St. James Park

29 12 2013 GifNumber 36 1 0 to the Arsenal: Olivier Giroud v Newcastle [GIF]

The match clincher arrived when Giroud latched onto Walcott’s perfectly-timed cross to head the ball home.

JANUARY 2014

Goal No. 12 against Aston Villa at Villa Park

While the Gunners were basking in the euphoria of getting the game’s opener, Wilshere robbed Delph off the ball and clipped a diagonal pass to Giroud. The Frenchman shoved the threat Lowton posed and fired a shot past Guzan to make it two goals in less than a minute for the Gunners.

Quick-fire: The Frenchman powered his strike home less than 60 seconds after Wilshere's opener

Goal No. 13 against Coventry City at the Emirates

Giroud latched on to Kieran Gibbs cut back to make it three while Cazorla fired in the icing on a well-baked cake late on.

Goal No. 14 against Southampton at the St. Mary’s Stadium

Lacked supply from his teammates in the first half but he helped his team defensively. He also scored a very improvised finish in a difficult situation.

FEBRUARY 2014

Goals No. 15 and 16 against Sunderland at the Emirates

Giroud lingered in the box when he attempted to pass back to his keeper and the Gunners striker clinically slid the ball past the exasperated Vito Mannone in goal.

Olivier Giroud celebrates his first goal of the afternoon for Arsenal against Sunderland

Santiago Vergini, deputising for the suspended Wes Brown, chose to send a tame back pass to Mannone.His return ball to Mannone, however, was woefully under hit, allowing the predatory Giroud to pounce and roll the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

MARCH 2014

Goals No. 17 and 18 against Everton at the Emirates

Giroud came off the bench to score a lovely brace that saw him fire one-timed shots into the net. His first arrived when he timed his run well to hit Sagna’s drilled cross and his second was served on a platter after Ozil’s pass put him clean on goal.

Goal No. 19 against Swansea at the Emirates

Giroud showed good movement to reach Lukas Podolski’s inch-perfect pass before firing a shot past Michel Vorm in goal.

APRIL 2014

Goal No. 20 against West Ham at the Emirates

The French striker hit the 20-goal mark when he controlled Vermaelen’s pass impeccably before blasting the shot through the goalie’s legs.

I hope you enjoyed the review.

Sayonara.

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Thoughts on Giroud’s Recent Decline in Goalscoring Form

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Arsenal is a team that is widely renowned for its exciting brand of entertaining football and the current squad is blessed with a plethora of football technicians that have given their all for the team’s cause as the season progresses.

Arsenal, like every other team in the Premier League, has had some great predatory forwards that smashed in goals with consummate ease. I wasn’t born when Cliff Bastin wowed the Highbury crowd but I was fortunate to see Ian Wright break Bastin’s long goalscoring record of 178 goals by sealing a hat-trick against Bolton in September 1997.

Just when we thought that Wright was Arsenal’s greatest center forward ever, a certain Thierry Henry popped up and broke Wright’s record of 185 goals against Sparta Prague in October 2005 and went on top the club’s goalscoring charts with 228 goals. At the frantic pace Robin van Persie scored goals for fun for the club, he was touted to at least match Ian Wright’s record but he couldn’t add to his 132 goals for the club as he departed for greener pastures.

Replacing a striker of van Persie’s quality was no mean feat but Arsenal swooped for Ligue 1’s top goalscorer in the 2011/12 season, Olivier Giroud, and the club also signed Lukas Podolski from FC Cologne to share the goalscoring workload. As you’d expect from players coming in from a different footballing culture, Giroud and Podolski had their struggles in one of the toughest football leagues in the world and a return of 33 goals between them was appreciated by the manager, their teammates and fans alike.

At the start of the new campaign, the manager acknowledged that a new striker was needed and the club were heavily linked with moves for Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, two players that were sure to displace Giroud off his perch. With the striker needed to prove his worth to the team, he smashed in five goals in his first six games, which was an amazing return for the Frenchman.

He went on to score goals against Napoli (home), Dortmund (away) and Crystal Palace taking his tally to eight goals this season but now without a goal in each of his last six games. It’s also what noting that Giroud has scored in one of his last 11 Arsenal appearances. That was the game against Southampton where Artur Boruc gifted him the first goal and he smashed in a penalty afterwards.

10 goals from 24 appearances is a good return from a striker but when you live in a world where the Sergio Agueros and Luis Suarez’s are decimating opposition defenses in the same league, you have to at least expect more from your alpha-dog in attack.

In Arsenal’s 6-3 mauling at the Etihad, Giroud had two quickfire chances he failed to capitalize on. The first was a brilliantly flicked ball from Jack Wilshere that was skied by the Frenchman while the second was a header that was glanced wide from a peach of a cross from Bacary Sagna.

In Arsenal’s last game against game against Chelsea, the game was locked at 0-0 when Aaron Ramsey noticed an unmarked Giroud on Ivanovic’s blind side. The Welsh phenom dinked the ball to Giroud’s path on his favorite left foot but the forward wasted the golden opportunity.

Olivier Giroud missed chance vs Chelsea

It was truly a terrible miss from the forward and he was going to miss another clear cut opportunity when Gibbs worked hard with Rosicky to square the ball to Giroud but his shot was parried by Cech. For a striker that was anonymous in front of goal all game long, these two quickfire chances presented him with a chance to write his name in Arsenal folklore but as expected, he was found wanting.

According to WhoScored, Giroud has scored seven goals in the Premier League from 57 shots and he averages 3.6 shots per game. Giroud has some strengths that have been on show this season (dominance in the air, lovely linkup play, amazing work rate) but his lack of pace and poor finishing shows that he can’t be fully relied on when the chips are down.

I really hate to compare him with RVP because of their classes apart but when I think about the fact that the Flying Dutchman was Arsenal’s get-out-of-jail-free card, it hurts to see that a talented forward like Giroud needs to get four to five chances before he converts one. There are games, like the one against Chelsea, where you can only be afforded one chance and you need to grab it with both hands.

From another perspective, Arsenal needs a new striker to offer stiff competition to Giroud. When he knew that his place was under threat in the summer to the likes of Higuain and Suarez, Giroud stepped up his game to prove to the manager that he was right to keep the faith with him. Now he can only look at Nicklas Bendtner as his backup striker and of course, he knows that Wenger would always favor him above the Dane.

Giroud’s fitness is also a key issue for his recent dip in form. For those that don’t know, he has played 24 games already spanning across four playing competitions and he’s starting to burn out. He was afforded a breather against Hull as Bendtner played in his stead but that was the only time he could afford to be rested.

The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere have shared the goalscoring load with Giroud but Arsenal needs Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski to step up their games to provide support to Giroud. It’s a team game after all.

Podolski is a much better finisher than Giroud, but doesn’t offer much more than that, and was pretty much anonymous when played up front on his own last season. Walcott’s brace against Manchester City showed what he’s capable of but he was a peripheral figure against Chelsea. Bendtner hasn’t still gotten a run of games to prove his worth and many believe that his future lies elsewhere.

The Gunners are without a win in four and face a West Ham side that has secured two great results against the Gunners’ rivals, Tottenham, in their home turf, so they certainly won’t be pushovers.

Arsenal needs Giroud and co. to get in on the scoring act and some goals against the East Londoners would be highly welcome.

Sayonara.

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