Is Olivier Giroud a good enough striker to help Arsenal win the Premier League title? And the simple options are either yes or no:
There has been a lot of debate recently about the quality of Olivier Giroud, sparked by his below par performance against Monaco in the first leg of that Champions League tie. Then it reignited when Thierry Henry said that Arsenal’s spine needed strengthening in the summer if they wanted to win the biggest trophies, such as the Premier League trophy and Champions League.
There’s no doubt we need a world class goalkeeper, and despite the impressive performances of Francis Coquelin, we could do with another defensive midfielder to help with the 50 odd games we have in a season. It would be unfair to ask Le Coq to perform week in, week out over an entire season.
In midfield and attack we are fully stocked, with Coquelin, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Özil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez – then we have Rosicky, Diaby, Arteta and Flamini to add depth to the squad.
So it is up front where we are struggling. We only have two recognised ‘centre forwards’; Danny Welbeck is an excellent team player who works hard and grafts for the team, and Olivier Giroud is our main target man.
So the big question is do we have a striker who can score 25 plus goals a season? One thing we’ve missed over the last two seasons (three arguably) is a forward who can score goals on a regular basis, and also make the difference in tight games.
Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Thierry Henry were the last strikers to score more than 25 goals in a season (with all three managing to score close to – if not more than – 30 goals in a single season). They all also scored in big games, finding the net against sides like Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City.
Olivier Giroud’s performances against the big sides have been okay, but there is evidence that he doesn’t score in the big games – and these are the games that matter. He didn’t score in the FA Cup final last season, he didn’t score at Old Trafford (twice) even though he had a host of chances, and hasn’t scored against Chelsea or Tottenham. He did score against Liverpool and Manchester City away however.
The game last weekend at Old Trafford was particularly frustrating. Granted, Manchester United had more of the game in the first half but Arsenal did well to get themselves back into the game in the second, playing with more confidence and taking the game to the home side. We found ourselves in a lot more attacking positions and Giroud wasted three good opportunities to score. Take one of those and we would have come home with all 3 points.
I am not questioning his commitment and effort, but the fact is Olivier Giroud is limited in areas such as finishing. I love the guy, but you can’t help think that a more clinical striker would give Arsenal something more and push us on to the biggest honours. I realise that it’s not so black and white – he is an excellent target striker who holds the ball up well for example – but I do feel he is holding the team back.
He’s never professed to be a world class striker and when I watch Arsenal you can see Özil getting frustrated at not having a world class forward to feed in. Özil is the assist master and someone who will create chance after chance after chance. At Real Madrid, he had a lightening fast warrior in Cristiano Ronaldo to feed and that team used to score a ridiculous amount of goals. With Olivier Giroud in the team, you feel that we are not maximising the talents of our most expensive player.
So do you think Olivier Giroud is good enough to get us to the biggest honours? Or do we need a better striker?
Cast your vote and leave your thoughts in the comments section below!