With the Transfer Window fast approaching the closure of it’s merciless doors, many feel that Arsenal are still in need of that clinical finisher to replace French striker Olivier Giroud upfront.
Is Girouds style of play integral to the way Arsenal express themselves on the pitch? Or is he holding back the Gunners from firing loads of goals on a more regular basis like their competitors are more used to?
In the two years that Giroud has been at Arsenal his appearnaces to goals is just short of one in every two games, which is fairly impressive for any striker unless your name is Olivier Giroud. The criticism and weight that has been put on the Frenchman’s wide shoulders seems to be very harsh from media and fans alike. Giroud was touted to fill the poison chalice which was Robin Van Persie’s boots, when he first signed for Arsenal but he simply is not that type of player.
He is a striker who seems to be very aware that he is not the fastest footballer in town which he continuously demonstrate by his consistent link up play, passing back to the Arsenal midfielders who will run ahead of him and attack.
Strikers of Arsenal past including Thierry Henry, Nicholas Anelka, Robin Van Persie, Ian Wright and even Silvian Wiltord have boasted the attribute in their Arsenal spell of pace and the ability to be first to the ball before the defender. Arsenal have had other great strikers that haven’t been blessed with pace such as Bergkamp and Kanu but they just had something very special about them, this ability to create a magical moment out of nothing.
Maybe Giroud’s special ability is his link up play with the midfielders, which isn’t seen as the most desirable of abilities because its so hard to give credit to. The fans are not going to remember everytime Giroud works some great play with Ramsey and Wilshere to bring them through with a shot on goal. They want to see their star forward taking on the whole backline and shooting an unstoppable drive that ripples the back of the net and leaves the ‘keeper looking at his hands thinking “Why have you forsaken me?” If thats what the fans and critics alike are expecting then maybe they have been spoilt by the great pacy strikers of Arsenal’s recent past that the expectation is now sky high.
What the fans are failing to realise is how football has changed across the globe. There are many great technical strikers that have great goal ratios and are being transferred for ridiculous sums who couldn’t beat a 50-year-old Lee Dixon in a 100m sprint. That’s because football is changing, its all about passing and moving, better to be faster in the short sprint than chasing for the long ball. The weight of the pass between players is now so much more important than the hit-the-ball-into-space-run-shoot-score type of football of the past. It is not a coincidence that top sides tend to be undone by the minnows more frequently as there are teams that literally just counter attack and still come home with points. These teams are efficient and great at taking their opportunities when presented to them which is why they have to be so precise.
The modern day Arsenal team needs a modern day striker and that striker at the moment is Giroud. He has lived up to the cliche of work with what you have by being a good passer of the ball, holds the ball up very well as well as finding great positions with his much acclaimed limited pace. Though at times for a fan it can be frustratng to see Giroud miss sitters, being run down by opposition defenders and watch as his ambitious 40-yarder sails over, this is a prime example of football still changing and Giroud, and players like him, are very much a part of that.
Do you agree with Giroud remaining Arsenal’s top striker or should Wenger look elsewhere to fill the yearning needs of millions of fans out there by bringing in another World class striker?