Arsenal fans are perhaps still feeling somewhat disillusioned with Olivier Giroud, the man bought in to replace a certain Robin Van Persie.
The Frenchman is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League or Champions League for his new club, and has just a solitary League Cup strike against Coventry to his name thus far.
He fluffed the opportunity to make himself a hero during the home fixture with Chelsea last weekend, rounding goalkeeper Petr Cech with his side trailing 2-1, before firing into the side netting.
The miss prompted Twitter jpegs declaring Giroud ‘the new Torres’, and further cruel comparisons with Van Persie were made. One forum read: “we wanted the new Van Persie, instead we got the new Chamakh.”
Chamakh made a bright start to his Arsenal career before fading badly. I feel Giroud could prove to be Chamakh in reverse, as the signs are there that Wenger has been shrewd in the transfer market once more.
First and foremost Giroud needs a Premier League goal sooner rather than later. Stating the obvious perhaps, but a goal would breed confidence and get that increasingly large monkey off his back.
His overall play so far hasn’t been half bad. He came off the bench during Arsenal’s 3-1 over Olympiakos last night and looked the part, laying on the third goal for Aaron Ramsey in an encouraging 10 minute cameo.
That was in fact now the former Montpellier man’s third assist of the season, putting him top of Arsenal’s assist chart. He is ahead of the likes of Gervinho, Walcott and even playmaker and big money summer signing Santi Cazorla.
But what is most encouraging and leads me to believe the goals will come, is the big strikers movement. On three occasions this season Giroud has found himself with a clear goal scoring opportunity, and in truth should have buried all three.
The first came on the opening day against Sunderland, firing wide first time with just the keeper to beat. The second was almost a carbon copy at Anfield, unable to wrap his foot around the ball enough to avoid striking it wide into the Kop.
And the third and final big miss arrived on Saturday against Roberto Di Matteo’s men, perhaps the biggest, but hopefully not the defining.
The common factor in all of these opportunities came about through excellent movement. Santi Cazorla laid on the chances at home to Sunderland and at Anfield, proving the pair have already formed an understanding.
Particularly in the league game at Liverpool did Giroud’s movement cause problems, as Arsenal played some excellent counter attacking football. Lukas Podolski owed a small part to Giroud as he scored his first goal for the Gunners, after his run created space for the German to bury his chance in front of the Kop.
It is unfair to continue to compare Giroud to Van Persie, first and foremost because it puts him under ridiculous pressure, and secondly because he is a different type of striker.
The feeling when Wenger signed him was that Giroud was going to be Arsenal’s ‘Plan B’. A powerful, physical forward, the likes Arsenal fans haven’t seen in recent years.
Giroud will cause problems for defences with his physical strength and his movement, that much has already been proved. All he needs is a bit of luck in front of goal, and like all new players to be given a bit of time. If so, the goals will come.
When every striker is going through a bad patch, the standard line you hear on Match of the Day from Alan Shearer is: “At least he’s in the position to miss the chances, i’d be worried if he wasn’t.”
This certainly applies to Olivier Giroud.
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