Olivier Giroud: Big Frenchman Key to Arsenal’s Attack
With no obvious replacement yet again within the squad for Olivier Giroud, Arsenal have found themselves reliant on a single striker like last season when they were dependable on Robin van Persie who shipped in the summer to rivals Manchester United for a fee of £24m. Olivier Giroud is a big, tall (6ft 3in), French striker who played for last season’s French champions Montpellier.
He netted 25 goals last season helping the club to a historic league triumph; their first ever. Arsenal will be short in strikers on January due to Gervinho going to AFCON, and it is understood that Wenger is ready to bring back Thierry Henry on loan from New York Red Bull for a third spell at the club which many fans see as a dubious move.
Any short terms deals leaves Arsenal in the similar position to the one they were last season. This time something similar is happening with Giroud. Giroud is a different animal to his predecessor and though he has a long way to go to reach the level he was last season with Montpellier. He’s the team’s one reliable and natural striker, and there is no replacement for him within the squad should find himself sidelined with an injury.
Lukas Podolski could have a go but it seems he is more suited at his normal role on left wing, while Walcott would like to have a shot but Wenger has denied the idea because he lack the faculties to lead the line.
It has become increasingly clear over the past weeks that Giroud is an important element in Arsenal’s attacking strategy. He showed that when he was playing his old club in the Champions League, where he pulled off a strong performance by racking up two assists for his collection. The first was a classic big-man knock-down where he hung up and nodded the ball down for Wilshere to slot his first goal since returning from a long term injury.
Then he found his inner Alex Song, and scooped a deft pass for Podolski to volley in with stirring ferocity.
Despite his slow start to the season, he has managed to score seven goals in his 11 starts and assisting six in all competitions. His hold-up play, strength, excellent positioning and aerial prowess are his biggest assets, qualities that give opposition defences a hard time and something to think about, and another dimension and useful outlet for a side not known for its reliance on long balls and such.
So injuries to the likes of Giroud and Podolski, particularly the big Frenchman, would severely hamper the Gunners and might force Wenger and co. to go all out in convincing the incoming Henry to stay until the end of the season.