Olivier Giroud: a French maverick who is loved by the ladies. It gets somewhat lost that, on his day, he’s a very, very good striker. He still struggles to get his plaudits, especially from the Arsenal faithful, however this season, only the Neymar and Luis Suarez partnership has produced more goals than the Mesut Ozil and Giroud axis in any of Europe’s top five leagues. This begs the question: when at his best, is Giroud more than just a pretty face and one of the league’s best strikers?
Giroud before the season faced a lot of criticism from Arsenal fans, as well as pundits such as Thierry Henry. The striker was branded lazy and accused of caring more about his looks than his game. However with 18 goals this season, Giroud has fought hard to win over his critics and has helped to build the Gunners’ title hopes. Arsenal currently sit at the top of the table, level with Leicester on points, and have their best hope of winning the title this season for some time.
When you look at their striking options, Arsenal do not have the sort of depth that they would, in an ideal world, like. With Giroud, Danny Welbeck (when fit) and Theo Walcott the only real options in the team. Giroud has had to step up, and step up he has, with his goals helping to put Arsenal in the strong position they are in. The striker has come far from the inconsistent option of seasons past. This is probably one of the reasons why some Arsenal fans are yet to truly warm to him.
What Giroud probably needed was consistent feeding (not in the food way) of chances and balls. Arsenal now play around him, with the free flowing players like Ozil and Aaron Ramsey carrying out all the hard work and the running to make sure that Giroud just has to convert the chances. When watching the ex-Montpellier ace before, he appeared to struggle to hold up the ball on his own, wanting somebody to provide for him – like a true goal poacher. That, and the fact he is getting into the French first-team more due to Benzema’s injury and and off-field problems, means he’s not only is he leading the line for Arsenal but also France. Perhaps he was a player who just needed to be shown love, who needed to have the faith put in him to perform, which is what he has done consistently this season.
When you now think of the best Premier League strikers, Giroud, for his efforts this season, has to be up there with Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, Jamie Vardy and Co. He has continued to perform at the highest level, and should Arsenal win the league this season, you would feel that it is partly down to Giroud’s goals. If this happens, perhaps it will be time for all Arsenal fans start to love this Frenchmen.
Although he is no Henry, Dennis Bergkamp or Robin van Persie, he does get goals… and has good hair!