When Arsenal fans were crying out in a state of desperation for the Gunners to sign a new striker in the summer, they finally had their prayers answered by Arsene Wenger’s £17 million Lucas Perez buy.
Arsenal fans were pleased to see that Wenger had finally realised that either Giroud needed replacing, or that the Frenchman at least needed some competition. But since Lucas has been with the side, albeit just two games, it seems as if Wenger isn’t quite on the ball when it comes to his striking options.
It was anticipated that Lucas Perez would provide competition for Giroud, given that in reality, Lucas probably isn’t much better than Giroud, he simply has a different style of play. However instead of giving Lucas a chance against PSG, Wenger favoured to keep Alexis Sanchez up front, whilst Giroud still didn’t get an opportunity to make his first start of the season.
Giroud’s absence from the starting line up has led many to question his fitness and mentality. It seems that despite having been back from his extended break for almost a month now, Giroud still isn’t quite on par with the others when it comes to fitness. Arsene Wenger confirmed ahead of Arsenal’s fixture against Hull, that Giroud hasn’t been as physically ready as the other players in recent weeks and so it has hampered his opportunity to start matches.
Wenger said: “He was a bit behind at the start. Fitness-wise he has been behind Koscielny and Ozil. At the start it took him some time to get back. Since the last week, he’s slowly getting back to full fitness now.”
I find it pretty shocking that a professional footballer, who seemingly didn’t suffer any injures or setbacks during the summer period, is still taking time to adjust to the demanded level of fitness. Giroud may have been on extended break, but he didn’t return to first team training long after his French international teammate Laurent Koscielny and German international Mesut Ozil. In fact their return to the side was almost a month ago and we have seen both Koscielny and Ozil play full 90 minutes. Although it must be said that Giroud played twice (and scored) for the France team
With Lucas now sniffing around the top spot, Giroud not only needs to now prove his fitness but also his value to Arsenal football club if he intends on keeping his slot as the number one striker. Although it could take time for Lucas to settle in, Giroud is in danger of being put on the backfoot and he should be wary that given he gets plenty of critics as he is, then being unfit as well is sure to anger a few more faces.
What has taken Giroud so long to regain full fitness since his extended summer break? Or is Wenger just telling porky-pies as usual?