Why Olivier Giroud should not be booed by the French fans
Olivier Giroud is arguably a player who has been regularly criticised throughout his entire professional football career so far. Despite putting up impressive performances in the recent warm-up games for France , Giroud has only received whistles and jeers from the majority of the French crowd.
Olivier Giroud is in the form of his life. He ended the domestic season on a high by scoring 3 goals against Aston Villa in the last game of the season, after ending his 15 game goal drought for Arsenal against Manchester City a week earlier. Giroud’s exploits helped Arsenal finish as runners-up behind Leicester City.
Giroud's form for Les Bleus under head coach Didier Deschamps has been impressive, with seven goals in his last five starts. He scored a sublime volley against Cameroon and a brace against Scotland which included a superb back heel goal, taking his tally to 17 goals in 49 internationals for France.
Despite such encouraging performances, Giroud doesn't seem to have impressed the French crowd much. The exclusion of star striker Karim Benzema from the Euro 2016 squad has made Giroud a scapegoat, with the majority of the fans believing that the 29-year-old is not the man to lead the country to glory on home turf.
Giroud has had his fair share of criticism in the past but it's time that his abilities and form is appreciated by the critics and the fans like. Against Scotland he scored his fourth double for France in 49 matches, Benzema only has five in 81.
Arsenal man is the best option Deschamps has
With Antoine Greizmann, Giroud is the best option Deschamps has. Though Anthony Martial had an impressive season for Manchester United and has been bright in the games he has turned up for France so far, what he lacks is international experience, something which Giroud can offer. Andre-Pierre Gignac has been plying his trade for Tigres in a much less competitive Mexican League and Giroud ought to be preferred over him in the selection for Starting XI.
Didier Deschamps backed the Arsenal talisman, describing the boos as unfair. "You hear what you want. The whistles were unfair tonight, but in Biarritz, he was applauded. People can be conditioned," said the France manager after his side's 3-2 win over Cameroon on May 31.
"But Olivier scored again. When you say it, you are not helpful. You are free to say what you want but this is not necessarily the truth," added the 47-year-old.
Oliver Giroud himself is bemused by the amount of boos he has been receiving .“You know that I have gone through stages in my career that have been quite complicated, so these things don't hurt me much, but it is true that it is a shame,” said the Arsenal man.
“Being French, playing in France, if we miss a chance we want the fans to encourage us.
“They are also there for that. Especially as I scored a goal with my only shot. So I do not understand it much but what was important was that we won, and that I continue that personal run of scoring,” added the 29-year-old.
An incredible rise for the Frenchman
Much has been said about Jamie Vardy's phenomenal rise from a factory worker and playing non-league football in 2005 to winning the Premier League with Leicester City last season, but people have failed to acknowledge the similar fairytale rise of Oliver Giroud.
In eight years, he has gone from playing in the fifth division of French football to the Premier league where he has helped Arsenal lift two Community shields and two FA cups in succession and has also become an integral part of the French football team, representing them in Euros 2012 and 2014 FIFA World cup, and now prepares to play a pivotal role for his country in the upcoming European Championships.
Although Giroud just had his best season for Arsenal, scoring an impressive 24 goals and providing 6 assists across all competitions, his inconsistency in front of goal remains a big concern. The 6ft 4in striker certainly lacks the ability to perform consistently over a period of time as evident from his 15-match goal drought for Arsenal in the league last season.
Giroud isn't blessed with a lot of pace like that of Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial but what he has is a desire to work for his chances and for the team. Despite lacking acceleration, he has the terrific ability of making runs to the front post that outwit defenders.
Bigger tests lay in wait for Giroud and Les Bleus and if the former is able to take his fine form to the upcoming European championships, he certainly can help his country to win their first international title since Euro 2000 .This is a once in a lifetime chance for Olivier Giroud to silence his critics and doubters, and to prove that he has the capability and talent to lead his country to the ultimate glory in the absence of Karim Benzema.