More Injury Woes and the Nervy Olivier Giroud
The final set of World Cup qualifiers will kick off tonight and Arsenal will have its fair share of players representing their nations yet again. Many Gunners had excelled in the first phase of fixtures with Santi Cazorla, Abou Diaby and Gervinho hitting the target. However, the evil injury spirits that attacked Robin van Persie in his Arsenal days while on international duty have gotten their pound of flesh yet again.
Abou Diaby hasn’t had competitive football in a long while but he began the campaign strongly with a full preseason under his belt. After being synonymous with the first team in the three league fixtures so far, Diaby rightfully earned a call-up to the French national team, where he did very well against Finland.
With the match against Belarus coming up tonight, Didier Deschamps has decided to rest Diaby because he took a knock and has some muscular discomfort, as the manager put it. Well I’m pretty sure that Arsene Wenger must have had some words with Deschamps to take a precautionary step with his fragile midfielder.
I also have a hunch that Diaby will be rested against Southampton with Francis Coquelin getting a shot at first team action. Two key fixtures against Montpellier and Manchester City are around the horizon, and Arsenal will need the athleticism, technique, strength and guile Diaby brings to the team.
Theo Walcott is another player whose season is moving from bad to worse with each passing week. After losing his place in the team to Gervinho, then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott has also gotten some stick for failing to sign a new deal with the club. It also seems as if he’s losing his place in the national team as well, as the Ox played for the best part of one hour before Walcott came in his stead.
Walcott has been forced to withdraw from the England squad playing Ukraine tonight because it has been reported that he was violently ill after picking up a virus. Danny Sturridge has also pulled out with stomach cramps while John Terry has left the team to go and shag another teammate’s wife.
Liverpool’s youngster Rahim Sterling, Southampton’s skipper Adam Lallana and Tottenham’s Jake Livermore has been drafted into the squad as replacements.
This clearly means that the right wing position is there for the taking for the Ox. Wily Ol’ Woy Hodgson had spoken about how he intended to take the Ox after 15 minutes into the second half, and he had stated that the lad took his feet off the pedal in that half, despite playing well in the first 45 minutes. The Ox on the other hand, is keeping his feet on the ground, as he claims that he still has a lot to learn and he intedns to work very hard to retain his spot.
From an Arsenal perspective, it would be nice seeing Diaby and Walcott return back to action because their services are needed at the club. This season has shown that there are able deputies that are capable of putting a good shift and holding the fort while the first team regulars continue to nurse injuries.
As it stands, I won’t lose sleep at night if I hear that Vito Mannone and Carl Jenkinson are playing against Barcelona for all I care. They have proved that they can make that step up and I pray that they can maintain their consistency.
When Arsenal signed Olivier Giroud from Ligue 1 defending champions, Montpellier Herault SC, there was a certain buzz around the bloke, and I went as far as publishing an article on 10 things you need to know about the striker. Arsenal fans had hoped that a senior player like van Persie would have eased the Frenchman into the Premier League but we all know how the van Persie transfer saga panned out.
Giroud played his first game for Arsenal in the 4-0 thumping of Lukas Podolski’s former employers, FC Cologne, and he put up an encouraging performance, making great off the ball runs and blasting making some good goal attempts. Giroud would have had a hat-trick but the FC Cologne goalie, Timo Horn, was having the game of his life.
With Lukas Podolski leading the line against Sunderland, being supported on the flanks by Theo Walcott and Gervinho, Giroud had to make do with a place in the dugout. After making his Arsenal debut as a substitute for an ineffectual Podolski, Giroud had the chance to douse post-van Persie flames as well as a chance to grab the back pages when Santi Cazorla tore the Sunderland defense with that through ball…
Up stepped Giroud to give the media Vultures something to write about. They went on and on, releasing articles of how doomsday was heading towards Arsenal’s path and what have you.
With an opposition that posed a strong aerial threat like Stoke City, Giroud was drafted straight to the squad and he had some chances to break his Arsenal duck. There was the scissors kick from Cazorla’s corner and that audacious long range effort that almost embarrassed Asmir Begovic.
Giroud was offered another chance to get a goal against a shaky Liverpool defense but he sent his header wide from a corner kick. When Diaby made that slalom run that saw Arsenal switch defense to attack in the twinkle of an eye, Giroud’s off the ball movement was a thorn in the flesh of the Liverpool back line but his finish was shameful to say the least.
Even, Kieran Gibbs had to give him a piece of his mind.
After conducting an interview with some folks at FIFA.com, Giroud has admitted that he has been nervous in front of goal,
“I’ve been freezing up a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull trigger and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France.
“I’m not too worried about it, because I’ve been scoring in training and I feel pretty comfortable being a part of this team.”
Giroud has played barely notched up three games for Arsenal and he’s already putting himself under some unwanted pressure. As a center forward, it’s only natural to challenge yourself but when you’re in a team like Arsenal were creativity is as ubiquitous as hotels in Owerri, why should you bother yourself that much?
Even legends like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp went up to eight games without breaking their ducks but guess who they opened their Arsenal accounts against?
The team Arsenal hosts this weekend – Southampton.
I really have so much more words to write on this Giroud nerviness issue but after reading a comment by Steven on the Sky Sports column, I was short of words,
‘Every Arsenal fan is behind your back. We might have the odd few who doubts you already but what matters is that we’ve been having the best ups and the worst downs. We know you aint scored yet, but we know you will. I personally think you’ll be a good player. Henry wasn’t a legend in 3 games so don’t worry. But be careful what you say to the english reporters because they can brainwash readers into believing you’re the worst player in the world. Concentrate on your football. Believe me’
God bless you Steven.
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