Giroud’s frustrated with Wenger, but does he have a point?
Despite calling season after season for a new striker, Arsenal fans are still left less than happy with the current strikers we have on our books.
Lucas Perez looked set to solve the issue, although of course he was nobody’s first choice. Almost a campaign down the line however and the Spaniard can’t get any minutes on the pitch. Alexis is proving vital in front of goal, and Welbeck was impressive on his return. But what about Olivier Giroud?
The Frenchman has not had the most consistent season and that’s largely because he’s been in and out of the team this year. Giroud has started just seven premier league games this season and finds himself as the club’s bench striker more often than not.
At 30 years old and in his 5th year with the club, Giroud is well established in North London. However the player is struggling to make the impact with the side that he desires and as a result he’s mentioned on the media that he remains quite frustrated with manager Arsene Wenger.
Giroud said: “For me, the most difficult moment was after scoring an important goal against Manchester United, I thought I had scored some points and would start against PSG… but no.”
“So I asked to speak to the coach to understand. I accept his decisions but I tell him what I think, without being negative, without antagonising. There are no misunderstandings between us.”
Giroud continued to confirm that he did eventually understand Wenger’s reasons, but obviously he still wasn’t content with the decision that he was being left out. Giroud said: “The coach explained to me that he was adopting this system [4-2-3-1] to find a defensive balance.
“Sometimes, I played with Sanchez on the left, but the rest of time I have to adapt to the tactical decisions.
“I understand the notion of balance once the ball is lost.”
At the start of the season many fans had reservations about the decision to play Alexis Sanchez up front, since he didn’t really fit the build of striker set for our wide game play. Arsenal were a team of crossing the ball into the box or almost as if we were trying to walk the ball into the net. Headers of course suited Giroud, with Alexis Sanchez being more styled to creative play and being played through on goal.
Alexis however silenced his critics and before you know it, it was Wenger who was being criticised for not playing the Chilean in the striker position sooner. Alexis held down that spot and Giroud didn’t get a look in.
In many ways I think Alexis up front does offer that extra presence in front of goal, but it has meant we’ve had to change our style of play to some extent. Giroud is being used far more as a target man to build play up and muscle with defenders, but as we’ve seen in the Frenchman’s last few games, at half time, he’s actually had less touches than both goalkeepers.
Giroud is capable of grabbing a goal, there’s no doubt about it; but does he have as much as an effect up front as Alexis Sanchez? Well it largely depends on the strength of the opposition but the majority of the time it’s fair to suggest the Chilean takes the crown.
With this in mind, Giroud shouldn’t automatically get his spot back in the side, just because he’s scored a couple of goals. Of course he’s proven effective with his goal tally, but with Giroud not getting as involved in the build up play (based on the amount of touches he gets) suggests to me that a lot of the time, the striker position is being wasted in front of goal.