After missing a couple of decent opportunities with his head on Sunday afternoon, the pitchforks are out for Olivier Giroud yet again.
The striker is averaging a goal just over every 90 minutes this season and has scored in five of Arsenal’s last seven games. A performance against Everton a few weeks ago was one of his finest for Arsenal, he scored the opener in the win over Bayern Munich and was one of the only decent performers as he scored the consolation goal in the return thrashing.
A tricky game against Swansea City saw Giroud score a crucial opener. So why so much abuse?
Unfortunately, the striker is a target for the frustrations of so many people whenever he – or the team – underperforms.
“The Frenchman didn’t have his finest hour against Spurs,” Arsenal legend Ian Wright wrote in his Sun column, “but to put all the blame at his door is unfair and wrong.”
“If Arsenal do see their title hopes go up in smoke again this season, it won’t be down to the fact that Giroud is up front any more than it will be down to the fact Theo Walcott or Danny Welbeck are there. Don’t forget, both those two have taken their share of flak.”
“With Theo it was a case of ‘he’s not a central striker, they can’t win it with him playing down the middle’.”
It seemed a fair comment at the start of the season, but one which saw many people (myself included) start to question themselves once Walcott was actually given a run of games down the middle.
As for Welbeck, he’s yet to appear this season but adds more of Walcott’s pace to some of Giroud’s strength and presence. Unfortunately he has been injured so far this season and his run in the team last year was while the side tried to adjust to a new shape and the absence of Mesut Özil.
“With Danny it’s been ‘he’s not prolific enough for a man who plays as a central striker, and never gets the number of goals he should’.
“All of them may well be valid points, but the most crucial of all is this — no one will win the league with just one guy up there.
“But if all three are fit, then, yes, of course Arsenal can do it.”
Arsenal need to get Welbeck and Walcott fit again to have more options than just Giroud, though that is not a comment on his quality. The French striker just needs more help and Arsène Wenger needs more versatile options available to him.
Giroud has inspired some of Arsenal’s great form with his goalscoring lately, so to sharpen the blade as soon as we don’t win a game is petty. He can’t score every chance he gets – nobody can. He also won’t win us the title alone, but he’s more than good enough to help us to it.