With three goals in his last four Arsenal appearances, fans would be forgiven for asking why Olivier Giroud isn’t starting games again.
Teams seem used to Theo Walcott and his task has become slightly trickier, but the Frenchman may actually be doing harm to his own cause with his record off the bench.
Since he joined Arsenal in the summer of 2012, Olivier Giroud has come off the bench 36 times and played a total of 785 minutes (includes Community Shield fixtures). With 13 goals in those fixtures, he scores a goal every 60 minutes as a substitute!
Bayern Munich were the latest to face Giroud off the bench, and the latest to concede to him. When defenders have already played for 70 or 80 minutes, it becomes simpler for Giroud to make the most of his physical presence. From the start of Tuesday’s game, Jerome Boating may well have handled him. After Boateng had already played well over an hour and kept tabs on Theo Walcott, Giroud had the upper hand.
Eight of those goals have come since the start of last season, and Wenger seems to have come around to the idea of using Giroud off the bench. He is the ‘plan B’ that Arsenal have been criticised for not having for a number of years.
Olivier Giroud may just have become Arsenal’s go-to option from the bench. Probably not a tag he wants, but one that he completely deserves.