He hasn’t been everyone’s cup of tea since making the move to the Premier League back in 2012, but is it time for the critics of Olivier Giroud to finally get off his back as he continues his strong form for France this summer?
Out of everyone in Arsenal’s under-firing team last season, it’s fair to say that Olivier Giroud drew his fair share of the criticism. A quick type of his name into Twitter will prove this, but looking across at his goalscoring record might suggest some of the negative comments are little unjustified.
He has dispatched 57 times during his four-year-tenure at the club having made just over 130 appearances. That’s one goal in nearly every two games which for a striker playing in the top division in England, isn’t too shabby at all.
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But its out in France at the Euros where Giroud has impressed even more, grabbing a brace in his sides’ 5-2 win over plucky Iceland on Sunday evening. In a France team that is utterly dictated by their attacking flair in Dimitri Payet and Paul Pogba, it’s clear that Giroud does offer them a different sort of striking outlet compared to some of the players on their books.
Whilst he holds the ball up particularly well, he also offers fantastic movement at times, which some people are sometimes oblivious to. Against a well-packed Iceland defence he managed to move the centre-backs around the pitch during his spell in the game, which ultimately was the key to unlocking their weaknesses.
That defensive rigidity that the Icelanders had built their entire campaign around was exposed pretty quickly by Giroud and for that, we must give him credit. England had failed quite miserably to unlock them, as did Portugal, Austria and the impressive Hungary.
And its fair to say that France are well on their way to writing a new chapter in their footballing history as they prepare for one of the biggest games in their recent history against Germany on Thursday evening. Giroud will lead the line again for Didier Deschamps’ side and he was even afforded 20 minutes rest when he was brought off after scoring his second goal of the game on Sunday.
All this points to a new lease of life that Giroud has shown during his time with Les Bleus this summer. Perhaps sometimes the pressure and expectation gets to him when he dons the Arsenal jersey, but his goalscoring record speaks for itself.
You can go on and argue that he doesn’t offer the team certain things when he plays but ultimately, he is a striker and he is on the pitch to score goals.
He was splashed all over the front-cover of Monday’s edition of L’Equipe with the headline “Almost Perfect” shining above in bright blue font.
It seems that Giroud has the national press on his side so hopefully he can bring some of that positivity with him when he returns to the Emirates later this month.