With three quarters of the 2012-13 Premier League gone, it doesn’t seem hasty to say Olivier Giroud has failed to make the expected impact in his first season at Arsenal. Whether that is based on a fair judgement or not is a different question, but the reality is that fans and media had higher prospects of the Frenchman. Signing a new striker this summer could sound like giving up on Giroud but, far from that, it could help to make the most of his potential.

Taking a glance at his stats, you could say we have been a bit harsh on him. Sixteen goals and ten assists at this point of the season on his first year in England is not bad at all. Everyone must know by now those statistics improve – just look at van Persie and Drogba’s numbers in their first Premier League seasons – although he should avoid getting involved in such comparisons, as he would have a lot to prove in the upcoming years before being put on the same level of those two giants of the game.

Comparisons apart, expecting far better numbers than what Giroud is currently achieving is a bit naive. We have to remember he came with the label of Ligue 1 top scorer, but in the end that is a world away from the English top flight. Raising the bar too high was probably motivated by the fact that he came to cover the hole van Persie left, but no one should be loaded with the pressure of matching the numbers the flying Dutchman achieved last season.

However, if we set the figures aside and concentrate on what Arsenal fans have seen from Giroud on the pitch, the general consensus is that something is missing. Sometimes, the cold personality of the Frenchman lead some to think it’s somewhat of an attitude problem.

And the fact that the 26-year-old has no competition for the No.9 position adds weight to this claim. No one is saying he is not trying hard, but not having a threat on the bench sometimes has a detrimental effect on the player and, subsequently, the team. Having no competition is a situation reserved for the greatest striker, who compete against themselves spurred by the ambition of breaking records and winning personal awards. Giroud is not one of those players at the moment, and another striker could be beneficial for his performance.

A good example of this can be the situation his fellow countryman Karim Benzema finds himself in with Gonzalo Higuain at Real Madrid. Mourinho has managed to make both players feel important in the squad and have alternated between them regularly based on their shape – although the Frenchman tends to be the first-choice more often. The result – 98 goals between them in the last two seasons (with the current one still going) and neither of them could confidently say they are a regular starter in The Special One’s first XI.

A bit of competition, therefore, could result in a step up in Giroud’s performance, although not only a menace to his spot in Wenger’s line up could be the solution. A complementary striker with different features could help to fit Giroud more naturally in the team. His complexity and style of playing – he is more of a finisher than anything else – have made him experiencing difficulties adapting to Arsenal’s style.

A second striker with good movement and the ability to combine with the likes of Cazorla, Wilshere or Walcott, could help relieve the Frenchman from tasks he is not used to excelling in, and make him focus on the opponent’s goal. Giroud has struggled this season when creating scoring situations, feeling more comfortable by being inside the penalty area – none of his 10 Premier League goals were scored outside the 18 yard-box.

The fact that Giroud has to give more to Arsenal in the upcoming seasons is not reason enough to not acknowledging a fairly decent first one. Arsene Wenger should still trust him and try to figure out how to maximise his potential. Paradoxically, what on paper can be consider as a replacement for the French forward – another striker – could be the wisest way to get the best out of him.

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  • User Avatar
    Pius Chomo
    1 year ago

    Is it fair to say that Giroud has lacked competition for the No.9 position at Arsenal? I think that assertion is somewhat naive considering that Giroud has had compete for that role at various times with Gervinho, Walcott and, I think, on a couple of occassions, Poldy. Can we therefore honestly say that Giroud not meeting, like you rightly insinuated, our very ridiculous expectations (of goals scored to the exclusion of goals created) is a result of him not having competition for the No.9 position? I don’t think so. But I agree with you that Giroud appears to have a cold, almost arrogant personality. So, yes, he may have personality issues and that’s what he may have to work if he must be rated among the very best in the world. But for now, considering that this his first season in a very demanding league like the epl, I think Giroud has and is still doing great things.

    Reply
    • Kike Muniz
      1 year ago

      Thanks for the comment. I also think he is doing good things for Arsenal, and more to come. Regarding the competition for the No.9 position, he had a bit with Podolski earlier this season, but I don’t think Walcott has been a threat in those terms. He has has a different role in the team and the fact that he has scored more goals this season doesn’t imply he is expected to be the ‘finisher’. As for Gervinho, if he is a threat for Wenger’s first-choice striker, things are not looking well for Arsenal!

      Reply
  • hmm
    1 year ago

    Giroud’s had a good first season and considering how quickly he’s developed over the past couple of years, it’s pretty promising for the future. Another striker would be good for more options, but I’m not sure that more competition is needed for him to continue to improve. I don’t doubt his commitment (Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain don’t really prove the point: they’ve both been pretty disappointing recently).

    On a side note (and as a Ligue 1 fan), while changing leagues can take time, that doesn’t necessarily mean that one league is better than the other; just that they have different styles (see, for example, Modric in La Liga). I really don’t think that the level in Ligue 1 is far off that of the Premier League (PSG aren’t having it all their own way in Ligue 1 at the moment and they performed better than any PL team in the Champion’s League).

    Also, not that it matters, but I’m a little surprised by your description of Giroud as ‘cold’. To me he seems to wear his heart on his sleeve.

    Reply
    • Kike Muniz
      1 year ago

      Higuain has the best scoring rate per minutes played after Messi, Ronaldo and Falcao,I don’t see how is that disappointing. Benzema started well but indeed, he has dropped down his level. In any case they really put pressure on each other every time one of them come off the bench and performs better than the starter,it has happened a lot this season (La Liga fan here ;D). I was just trying to say there are very few players that don’t relax to an extend when they don’t have competitors, and Giroud is not one of them, in my opinion.
      Regarding the Ligue 1, I truly believe is highly unlikely a striker from Ligue 1 is going to improve his scoring numbers in the Premier League (and I include Ibrahimovic in that one).

      Reply
  • Kick Off Gamer
    1 year ago

    I dont think just because Giroud hasnt scored 2 plus goals makes him not good and I dont think competition has anything to do with it. Personally I think its his first season in the premier league and I expect that. As long as next season he can come back and at minimum to the same as this season I would be happy. I do believe that he will score more expecially as in his first season at Montpellier he scored 13 and at his final season he scored 25. So if that is and reflection on things to come it is looking very positive

    Reply
    • Kike Muniz
      1 year ago

      Who said he is not good? Read the whole article please. I simply think a strong competitor in the No9 position would make him better, it’s just a point of view, if you don’t think it has anything to do with it, it’s a good job I did not come to this world to convince you otherwise.
      And, as decent his first season has been considering is the first one, being ‘happy’ with him just meeting those numbers in the future is having poor aspirations for both Giroud and Arsenal.

      Reply