Ever since he signed for Arsenal over two years ago, the France international striker Olivier Giroud has divided opinion, both in the football media and among the Arsenal fans. While the big man has had plenty of praise for his hard work and contribution, many of us believed he would never be a good enough finisher to lead the Gunners to real success.
But after beating Aaron Ramsey to be the top scorer for Arsenal last season, Giroud has pushed on again in this campaign, starting with a great goal and a Man of the Match award in the Community Shield. And despite the arrival of Danny Welbeck and the former Man United man settling quickly, Giroud still seems to have his manager’s backing for the centre forward role.
In an Arsenal.com report, Wenger was full of praise for his countryman, especially the mental attitude and desire he showed to come back early from that unlucky Tibia injury. The boss also spoke about him giving the team something different and even suggested that he was a bit of a throwback to the striker’s of old.
Wenger said, “I believe in his mentality. He’s a positive guy. Even when he misses something people forgive him because he has a positive mental impact with the physical impact as well.
“He worked very hard [to return from injury]. After the World Cup he was not completely ready at the start of the season but I always said you always see the players back in November.
“The surgery made him realise – sometimes you love it and you miss it. Our fitness coaches told me that he was extremely motivated and that’s why he came back so quickly.
“He gives us different options because we can go for a longer ball. We have plenty of players who can play short and he gives us a variety in our game.
“The first goal he scored against Newcastle was a typical 1970s goal. You love it as well because you see it less now.”
I think that a lot of the negative criticism of Giroud in the last couple of years was because his lack of pace was costing us, but maybe that was because he did not have the right players around him, especially last season due to injuries.
Now he has Welbeck, Alexis and the Ox providing the pace he lacks. So is Giroud the man to be the pivotal point of that pace and lead Arsenal on to great things?