Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud was in fantastic form after returning from injury in December and was banging goals in against all-comers (except Monaco!) until the fateful day when Jose Mourinho parked the bus at the Emirates. Since then he has not been able to hit a proverbial barn door and poor Giroud has now gone five games without a sniff at goal.
It has now been revealed, by Giroud himself, that he was very hurt after the Chelsea game, when the Arsenal legend and all-time top scorer Thierry Henry commented that the Gunners could not win the Premier League title with Giroud as their main striker, and he obviously took it to heart. “I heard he was saying too many dull things. That was a bomb and it had its desired effect,” Giroud reportedly told L’Equipe.
“It was surprising to hear him take apart the team. I say ‘team’ because it wasn’t just me, it was the spine. I think he’s wrong.
“I didn’t enjoy hearing it. Coming from an ex-France and Arsenal striker, it’s a shame. It was a bit easy for him to say that after Chelsea game.
“We were doing well, unbeaten in 10, my stats were good. It hurt my pride.”
The Frenchman has admitted before that he is a bit too emotional and it may have been such a strong attack on his prowess that he has perhaps been trying a little too hard since then – and failing to make any impact whatsoever.
What Henry actually said was that Arsenal “need a top, top-quality striker in order to win this league again.” and even Arsene Wenger thought it was prudent to come out and publicly support Giroud. “Nobody can win you the Premier League title alone,” Wenger retorted. “Olivier Giroud is part of the squad and he has done extremely well. He’s scored 14 goals in the Premier League in 20 games. He works very hard for the team. Alone, of course he cannot win it.
“It is always like this when a striker misses chances. It happens to everybody. They are criticised but I always believe there is a difference between saying the performance of a player today was absolutely bad or is a difference between that and always saying, ‘Look this player is not good enough. He is not the level.’
“You can never convict definitely a player. The players accept that they had a bad performance because top level players acknowledge when they don’t play well. I believe that he has done extremely well. He has won the championship in France, let’s not forget that.”
But was the damage already done to Giroud’s esteem? He said that it was “a bomb” and that it had “the desired effect”. Is it that effect that has resulted in his drastic loss of confidence? I think it has…..