As France slumped to a defeat against Sweden following a horrendous error by Spurs captain Hugo Lloris, the undoubted highlight of the match was Olivier Giroud’s sumptuous strike into the top corner to give France the lead. The Arsenal striker now has 17 goals in 17 starts for France, a statistic which begs the question as to whether Arsenal make the best use of the Frenchman.
Another baffling aspect is the fact that Giroud is Didier Deschamps’ undisputed Number 9 for France, keeping out the likes of Lacazette, Mbappe and Benzema, all players that Arsenal fans are urging Wenger to sign, although the latter’s name is not really heard anymore. In addition, Giroud has a better goal-scoring record for his country than all of those players, although Mbappe just recently made his debut. So taking all this into consideration, are Arsenal actually holding the striker back?
In my opinion, I would agree, but only to a certain degree. While France play in a style that is very similar to Arsenal, Deschamps places a higher emphasis on crosses into the box, especially when his favorite hitman is on the pitch. Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy are both full-backs who are renowned for their crossing ability, whilst the likes of Cabaye, Pogba and Matuidi who play in the middle feed him with regular diagonals to help him bring others into play.
While Arsenal do this as well, the frequency and the quality of crosses are comparatively much lesser. But then again, it is perhaps more difficult for a targetman like Giroud to assert his dominance in a league as physical as the Premier League, with defenders in England’s top flight not as easy to out-muscle compared to the rest of Europe. So with that being said, it comes down to the Premier League being tough as well.
But when you look at his incredible statistics for France, one cannot help but wonder whether Arsenal can modify their style of play when the handsome Frenchman is on the pitch. While I certainly do not believe that he is a striker who can lead a team to the title, I really think that Wenger can alter his tactics a bit to compliment the style of a targetman when he is on the pitch.