After starting Arsenal’s first three Premier League games of the season, Olivier Giroud was dropped for the trip to Newcastle United.
In the meantime, the first international break of the campaign saw him on the bench with Karim Benzema leading the line for France at the start of September against Portugal. A few days later, Giroud started against Serbia and was booed off after missing a couple of chances.
Giroud has started just three Premier League games since that international break but has managed to score five times, as well as netting twice against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Also scoring twice against Denmark in the October international break, his response to adversity has been tremendous.
“After the fact, you could say that it was beneficial,” Giroud said to Le Parisien. “I made a solid comeback and I’m even stronger again. You always need a little shot in the arm when you’re feeling comfortable.
“It’s always good to question yourself…it’s not a bad thing, from time to time, to be faced with your responsibilities.”
With Theo Walcott and Karim Benzema both chosen ahead of him, Giroud had to impress when given limited minutes.
He did so, and is now set to lead the line for both club and country with Walcott injured and Benzema embroiled in a controversial court case.
“You have to remain focused on the basics and never give up,” he said. “You have to respond when you’re called upon.
“You have to be hungry and your mental strength has to come to the fore. It’s not easy.
“I didn’t want to spend the whole season on the bench. All of that made me react.”
On current form, regardless of a couple of misses here or there, Giroud won’t spend too much time on the bench.
He won’t be guaranteed starts should others return, but he will get his fair share of games. Often ridiculed but Giroud can be huge for both Arsenal and France this season. With the Gunners in a title race and France hosting the European Championships, his timing couldn’t be any better.