First of all, Thierry Henry is an Arsenal legend and probably the greatest player to have ever worn the red and white of Arsenal. So when he says something, you listen.
He’s won everything the game has to offer (although not the Ballon d’Or which still irks me to this day because he should have won it at least twice) and his opinion is something which should be respected. It seems however that his remarks regarding Olivier Giroud have sparked some kind of debate amongst Arsenal fans.
His opinion was that like Chelsea, Arsenal need to invest in a new spine. That includes a world-class goalkeeper, midfielder and striker – and in Henry’s opinion, Olivier Giroud is not the man who can fire Arsenal to Premier League or Champions League glory.
But is that a fair conclusion?
Let’s look at the previous Premier League winners and the top goalscorers:
2014 – Manchester City – Luis Suarez (31 goals)
2013 – Manchester United – Robin van Persie (26)
2012 – Manchester City – Robin van Persie (30)
2011 – Manchester United – Carlos Tevez / Dimitar Berbatov (20)
2010 – Chelsea – Didier Drogba (29)
2009 – Manchester United – Nicklas Anelka (19)
2008 – Manchester United – Cristiano Ronaldo (31)
2007 – Manchester United – Didier Drogba (20)
2006 – Chelsea – Thierry Henry (27)
2005 – Chelsea – Thierry Henry (25)
So as you can see, from the last 10 seasons the champions that year had the top scorer a total of four times.
But interestingly, in every one of the last 10 seasons the top scorer has been playing for a team that has always ended up on the Top Four, and most of the time their team has finished at least second in the league.
So a world-class player who can score at least 20 goals a season is vital if you want to really compete for the Premier League title.
This season, with 4/5 games remaining, Olivier Giroud has scored 14 league goals. Chelsea’s top scorer, Diego Costa sits on 19 goals, although he has missed quite a few games through injury – and at the moment it’s Sergio Agüero who is top of the charts on 21 goals so far.
So is Olivier Giroud the man who can lead Arsenal to Premier League or even Champions League glory?
Sadly, the answer is no.
As you can see from the last 10 seasons, only on 3 occasions has the top scorer only scored around 20 goals. Most of the time the top scorer has scored at least 25 goals, scoring closer to 30 goals in a whole season. As it stands, unless Giroud scores a brace in all our remaining games he’s well off that total.
Now I’m not disputing his quality and what he brings to the team. Currently, he is our main striker who brings others into play – he does score goals and how we are playing at the moment suits his style. But there’s no doubt that if we had a world-class striker, we would probably be much closer to Chelsea right now.
It’s a point which has been raised time and time again, but would Giroud get into any other top sides? Would be get a place at Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City? The answer is probably not.
Monaco was probably the biggest indicator that we badly missed a world-class finisher. You cannot argue that if we had Aguero, Suarez, Diego Costa or Wayne Rooney then we’d be a better team.
We’ve spent mega money on Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez who are both world-class forwards, but we just need that special striker to finish off the team.
Like it or not, Arsene Wenger needs to spend big this summer on a world-class striker who can score from nothing – which we’ve missed, especially in tight games which we’ve failed to break down the opposition.