Olivier Giroud doesn’t score against big games, nor does he net against major opposition.
That was one of the major criticisms of the Arsenal striker after his first two seasons at the Emirates Stadium, but he appears to have shut everyone up. Even last weekend Giroud was roundly put down after failing to score in the north London derby, but he has responded strongly yet again.
Immediately after half-time, Giroud smashed the ball beyond Manuel Neuer and gave France the lead against the world champions.
— UberArsenal™ (@UberAFC) November 13, 2015
Brilliantly assisted by Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, Giroud’s 13th goal for France was his third in his last two appearances, and once again a strong response to those questioning his credentials. Pierre-André Gignac scored a second goal after replacing Giroud with just over 20 minutes remaining.
With Karim Benzema’s career hanging in the balance, Giroud has a great chance to claim the starting spot for France on a regular basis and couldn’t have made a stronger claim than scoring his third goal against Manuel Neuer – the best goalkeeper in the world – in the space of a month.
A clean sheet was kept by France as well, with Laurent Koscielny completing the game without an injury.
The game, and France’s 2-0 win, was overshadowed by far graver events in Paris on Friday evening as deadly attacks have left civilians dead and president Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency.
Giroud’s goal is utterly meaningless outside the context of the game, and it is important to remember that football – ultimately – is insignificant. Thankfully, it provides some form of escape when horrific events take place around us, and hopefully it manages to do that for some when the French national team play at Wembley on Tuesday.