Olivier Giroud: 6 Things Arsenal Can Do to Get Him Scoring
Yet to open his scoring account during his time at Arsenal, the pressure is starting to mount and the questions are beginning to rise around the qualities of Olivier Giroud.
Football is arguably as much about business as it is about sport in the modern era. Like any business, investors want results, and they want them yesterday.
As such, any player that’s brought into a club for a fee deemed even slightly expensive will also be expected to produce a certain standard of results in correlation with their price-tag.
In all fairness, Giroud hasn’t justified the £12m fee for which he was brought to the Emirates Stadium for just yet, but the day is young, and the Frenchman can eventually revive the kind of prolific scoring which attracted the Gunners in the first place.
To accommodate that progress, there are certain things that Arsenal can do to give their forward some nudges in the right direction.
Emulate Familiar Supply
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It’s no secret that Giroud enjoyed the best performances of his career so far with Montpellier.
Last season, the striker netted 25 goals in 43 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit, making his way into the 2011-12 Team of the Year for the French top flight.
In the modern game, formation is key and the way in which a manager deploys his tactics can shape the course of any game, for better or for worse.
Therefore, it would seem to be a no-brainer that to allow Giroud the best chances of settling in, the club strive to emulate the way in which La Paillade went about their business, and brought the best out of the goal scorer.
In truth, the way Arsenal have been playing already resembles the Montpellier approach in a remarkable fashion.
René Girard would often, if not always, utilise Giroud as a lone striker while the likes of John Utaka, Souleymane Camara and Rémy Cabella would take to the flanks.
Arsenal have used a similar approach in recent seasons and now have a bevy of wide talent including, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and others.
A great responsibility also lay on the shoulders of the club’s other major star, Younes Belhanda, who plugged the hole between midfield and attack, a role which Santi Cazorla thrives in.
So, as we can see, the Emirates Stadium may not be as foreign an environment for Giroud after all—the question is whether or not it will stay that way.
Practice Makes Perfect
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As things stand, Olivier Giroud has played around two-and-a-half games in the Premier League as well as a Champions League win over former club Montpellier.
The European fixture was the most recent of those games and was the meeting in which Giroud recorded his most significant contribution to the team as of yet, an assist. While this might be slow growth, it’s growth nonetheless.
In short, strikers need playing time in order to score. After he was dropped from the starting lineup against Southampton, Giroud was assuredly pleased to come back against his former club.
It’s believed that Arsene Wenger pushed for Giroud’s signature over the summer, showing a great faith in his compatriot just as he has done in so many French talents before him.
Therefore, the manager’s neck may be on the line as much as the player’s in this scenario, making for tense times.
Wenger may be tempted to drop his forward in favour of those more proven in the Premier League, but if his purchase is ever to succeed in the English top flight, he needs games.
It may sound simple, but the temptation to leave Giroud out of matters would be all-too-simple for some, and is a desire that Wenger needs to resist. Instead, he needs to show faith in his star.
Forget About RVP
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Possibly one of the hardest acts to follow will be for a striker coming to a club that has just sold Robin van Persie, the man who averaged almost a goal per game last season.
All from the Arsenal fraternity will have wanted the Dutchman, their 2011-12 saviour, to stick with the club, but the reality is that he’s gone. That’s it.
As such, those both inside the club and outside of it need to forget about any kind of comparison, even though it would be all too easy to link the two.
RVP had numerous seasons in the Arsenal reserve ranks and was allowed his time to evolve because there were other, more senior strikers ahead of him.
Giroud has been brought in to supposedly fill that void straight away, and the fact of the matter is that he won’t score 37 goals this season.
However, this doesn’t mean that he won’t be a success. It merely means that he won’t be emulating the form of one of the world’s best strikers, at least not in this campaign.
The Frenchman will already feel the proverbial monkey scratching at his back, so the last thing he needs are others reminding him of the legacy he’s striving to live up to.
Don't Force the Issue
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As far as manners go, they say it’s polite to “not ignore the elephant in the room.”
For Olivier Giroud to reach his optimum performances, that’s exactly what Arsenal need to do. To break it down, Giroud is “the elephant”, the Premier League would be “the room.”
At Montpellier, the 6’4” forward stood out as one of the side’s best players, and was pretty much their sole source of goals.
In North London, Giroud must be looked upon as just another piece of the furniture, as if he wasn’t even there.
When any player arrives at a new club, and especially a player who’s there to score goals, the automatic reaction is to get them the ball on every available chance in an effort to make things easier.
In actual fact, this sort of outlook can be detrimental to a team’s success and it’s far better to go about business as normal.
Giroud proved at his last club that he’s a natural scorer of goals, whether it be as a poacher or otherwise.
The Gunners shave enough talent in their midfield to create chance upon chance, and the Frenchman will undoubtedly begin to revive his Montpellier form.
Only when those players moved to more inconspicuous roles with less attention have they begun to improve, and Arsenal need to take note of those trials in order to help Giroud in his crusade.
Find Their Own Formula
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As much as Giroud’s performances this season may have been disheartening for some Arsenal fans, his lack of synchronisation isn’t a fault merely of his own.
The French international has joined the club on the back of several key departures and although it seemed as if last season took up that spot, this campaign is very much one of transition.
With Robin van Persie and Alex Song now moved on to other pastures, the squad looks more than slightly different from two seasons ago, and will need to find its identity once more.
Judging by the club’s most recent performances, the Gunners are already starting to settle into that new formula and have been impressive both in defence and attack.
Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have already nestled into their spots within the new club and could be the new heroes for the Arsenal faithful.
Giroud appears to be taking slightly longer to find that “comfort zone.” However, he can adapt as soon as the club, as a whole, find out how to play to their best.
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A factor touched upon in just about every point so far and perhaps the most important necessity of the bunch; Olivier Giroud needs time.
Last season showed us that Robin van Persie is a worldly talent when playing to his potential but even the former Gunners great took four or five seasons to really find himself at the club.
Gervinho came from France in similar circumstances to Olivier Giroud and was largely unnoticeable in his debut season at the Emirates.
That said, the Ivorian has appeared to have found his place and has nearly matched his goal tally for the entire 2011-12 campaign in his first four games this season.
There are endless examples of players taking their time to acclimate to a new club after transferring from different surroundings, and the spotlight will be on Giroud this season.
What’s more, the trial of moving from an entirely different league will also be a test and could require an even longer period of setting.
It will be hard to bear with at times, and the omens of so many flops may start to rear their heads, but Arsenal need to have faith in Olivier Giroud, their leading man, and trust that he will come good.