Olivier Giroud managed to hit back at criticism, in a way, on Saturday by assisting the only goal of the game.
It was a bit of a surprise to see the French striker selected by Arsène Wenger after a poor display at Sunderland a week ago.
Giroud hasn’t scored in the Premier League since January but still holds the ball up well when selected and, as he showed at the weekend, can be valuable when his teammates get close to him in dangerous areas.
“It is always nice for a striker to score or assist a teammate,” the Frenchman said after the game. “I’m pleased to be back, not on the scoresheet but on the assist sheet.”
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of the assist sheet before but Giroud does deserve credit for helping to create the opening goal. After all, it’s not as if anyone else created something for him to finish.
Fans had booed the decision to leave Giroud on rather than Alex Iwobi but the striker responded by setting up the opener just over a minute later. No wonder he then cupped his ear to the North Bank.
“I’m used to playing for my teammates and I try to help them when I can. If I cannot finish the work, I try to play for them. This one reminded me of another goal, it was like Theo’s against Leicester.
“I try to play with my first instinct and be efficient, but even if I didn’t score I’m pleased with that assist and I will try to keep working. I will work hard to get the confidence back and the goals as well.”
Arsenal have two more games this season and they come against Manchester City and Aston Villa, opponents Giroud’s had a fair amount of success against in the past.
The big striker will be desperate to score and boost his confidence ahead of Euro 2016 but time is running out. We’ll see next weekend how much that assist really has lifted him.