The rise and rise of Olivier Giroud (An Arsenal fan’s view)

Let’s talk about Olivier Giroud by AF

I remember the first time I heard of Oliver Giroud, I was at the Nigerian Law School and my friend Tokunbo asked that we should watch the clip of some French bloke that there were strong rumors that Arsenal were interested in. We saw the clip together and to be honest I didn’t think much of the dude. This happened sometime between February and March 2012, and with “he who must not be named” still in the team I didn’t think we would be interested in this dude whose clip I wasn’t impressed with.

A few months down the line we had in fact signed him, a French striker, with little international exposure by way of appearances with the national French side at the time. But things weren’t so bad I felt at that time. ‘Why?’ you would have asked? The following would have been my answers:

1. We had “he who must not be named” so the addition of another striker for me was nothing but luxury and a back up to him.

2. We had not to long before, completed the signing of Lukas Podolski, a striker with proven international pedigree.

3. He was joint highest goal scorer in the French league and had in fact just won the title with his little fancied Montpellier side .

With the above highlighted – especially the first answer given, I never expected he would lead the Arsenal attack line early in his career at the Emirates. I should add that another pleasant thing about signing Olivier at the time was that he was signed pretty early on in the transfer season, and quite swiftly (by Arsenal standards).

Then things started to change pretty fast, ‘he that must not be named’ made his annoying and heart breaking statement, and next thing this new premiere league recruit was leading the attack line of my beloved club.

I remember his Premier League debut, a home game against Sunderland where he came in as a substitute, and missed a good chance towards the end of the game (which we ended up drawing). A few games later he missed a sitter against Liverpool and I remember the reactions of everyone around me, saying that Wenger had done it again! He had brought in another Chamakh and I couldn’t help but agree. This was because he somewhat struggled with the style of play of the EPL.

But, like every fan of the football club, I wasn’t going to write him off completely – simply because he was one of us and you want all your players to be successful at the club except for maybe Adebayor. And for me there were pointers that he could be successful. The major pointer for me being that from his record at previous clubs he always made yearly progress in terms of his goal scoring – and that for me was promising. That told me that he could improve. When his first season came to an end I however wasn’t really encouraged.

The 2013/2014 season started off and he came up with a goal on the first day of the campaign in a game we lost by 3-1 against Aston Villa. And as the season progressed he seemed to have settled a lot better into the style of the team and the EPL. But I must admit, I wasn’t completely convinced or confident in him. He simply seemed to look like he would never be that man you had complete confidence of being able to lead the Arsenal attack line. At the end of the 2013/2014 season he had racked up 16 goals in 36 games which was progress compared to his 11 in 34 EPL matches in his first season.

Now we are half way through the 2014/2015 season and MY does it fill me with confidence to see Olivier lead the arsenal attack line. He seems to have mastered his role in this team with his many flicks and dummies and also scoring important goals in big matches, something he was criticized for not doing enough of in his first two seasons at the club. All this, it must be mentioned, he has been able to sustain despite having a somewhat injury plagued season. He seems stronger and more agile, in addition to massively improved composure and finishing. All these attributes making for a more effective and lethal Giroud. Yes, he lacks pace but makes up for that with all the other essential attributes of a striker.

Right before we signed Ozil, Wenger had tried without success to bring in an upgrade on Giroud but failed. My question now is ‘what realistic upgrade is there on Giroud out there at this time?’. The answer is definitely not many. I remember posting a comment on Arseblog last season, where I shared my opinion at the time, that we need a definite upgrade on Olivier. Well, barring us bringing in a 50-60 million pound striker which, with the experience of Torres and Falcao doesn’t necessarily translate to the player being an upgrade.

At this moment, I honestly feel that there are probably just a handful of strikers who at this time an upgrade on Giroud. I’m please to conclude at this time that this seasons Giroud (except for the Giroud who played against Monaco in the first leg) is of the highest quality.

I’m confident in the ability of this Olivier Giroud to lead the Arsenal attack line at the least until the end of next season.


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  1. mike says:

    Thanks for the story, Ayodeji. The timing is good, and Giroud has indeed continued to improve. For me, that is a great quality.

  2. TheDrax says:

    I had that feeling too when we signed him.thought he was going to be a sub to “the. little boy “sh*t…..glad he’s improved. while the little boy is back we’re he belongs

  3. jonestown1 says:

    LOL. Just spat my horlicks across the living room – Danny Welbz leading scorer in Europe for Euro qualis. 6 in 5. Who would have thought?

  4. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    Welbeck Welbeck Welbeck

  5. No Giroud, I'm happy says:

    I can see him improving, no doubt … but I still want Henry/van persie type of player and I am fully convinced Giroud will never be a top striker for top team, whatever you try to polish him …

  6. frank says:

    I was another one that thought of Giroud as a second striker. I hope he continues to prove me wrong and plays some more good football.

  7. Wayne Barker says:

    Still have to prove a lot. The likes of RVP, Henry, Bergkamp were all much better in their peak and giroud is in his peak and he has to offer more.

    Now when I say more, I mean have a better impact when things are not going well for us. Its good we are doing well but when we are losing or when we lack the motivation , I have never seen Giroud do something great. There is a reason he is not a regular starter even for France national team.

    My french mate summed about him which I felt was spot on ” A DECENT – GOOD PLAYER BUT CLEARLY NOT ENOUGH IF YOU WANT TO WIN MAJOR TROPHIES”

    1. Tidan2 says:

      Bit of a shit analysis.

      Firstly, not every player needs to be compared to Arsenal legends to be considered better than just average.

      Second, Giroud is not hitting his peak; not all players hit their peak at the same age especially those that use physicality instead of pace and fitness. Giroud has gone from lower level french football to the premier league in about 5 years, I can see him improving for another 2 seasons and that may put him at Van Persie’s peak level (and that without all those injuries and rapid decline).
      Giroud is also not getting national football because he has to compete with a very well established Benzema who plays for RM; even if he was destroying the PL it takes time to compete with another player of high caliber who has been there for multiple seasons when you were not even on the radar.

      Basically, have a little faith and because his projections look good if not great.

  8. Mick The Gooner says:

    Welbeck is looking good

  9. vitman says:

    He has improved in several aspects of his game: his positioning,hold up play,shooting, use of his strenght and composure in front of goal. The only thing that let him down is lack of pace and his inability to dribble past defenders.

  10. Jim A says:

    You really can’t compare him to other strikers. He does so much work with the build up to the attack that other strikers simply can’t.
    If we have pace on the sides of him then we have a great attack. The 2 goals against Newcastle were both set pieces. Not many other strikers could hold off a defender that is in your chest and put a ball in the corner.

    1. Zulu-boy-SA says:

      Which strikers? Example please..

      1. Jim A says:

        Maybe only Bony could hold off a defender like that.

  11. derek says:

    I like bfm (big French model) I would like to introduce myself, I have read the comments on this site for some time now and would like to partake in the banter. Anyway I’m AKB but with suspicion.

  12. fred cowardly says:

    Giroud is very good. Slightly better than Welbeck but Welbeck has years to improve his finishing.

    I still feel that with Chelsea, City and United signing more WC players this summer, we will need to sign a WC striker in addition to a top DM and defender.

    We need to be able to keep up with the above named teams. Even Spurs and Liverpool could get top players.

    But I am happy we have Giroud and Welbeck. I’m happy they are both improving.

  13. davidrusa says:

    I don’t know whether WC means world cup or world class but knowing some people’s illusions I imagine it means world class. Once again may I remind Fred Cowardly that WC is only in the head of the one talking about it because it has no standard definition anywhere. As far as I am concerned I don’t care whether Giroud and Wellbeck are world class. All I care for is whether they are doing the job for us. I strongly feel that our strikers are doing a good job; that is why we have scored over 50 goals this season. I don’t know whether labelling one world class improves one’s performance. The major problem with many commentators is getting obsessed with certain things which they don’t even fully understand. I was hearing a lot of stories about world class players who include Radamel Falcao, Torres, Angel Di Maria etc but how have they performed in EPL. Compare world class Falcao and Giroud, who would you have? What people need to realise is that someone may be very good in Spain or Italy but unsuitable for the English game. So your hype about world class needs to be toned down. Instead we should look for players that are suitable for EPL.

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