Arsenal: 7 Reasons Olivier Giroud's Breakthrough Could Come Sooner Than Later
Olivier Giroud's struggles since moving to London have been well-documented. In all the games he has played since the start of the season, the Frenchman has only netted once, and that was in the League Cup against Coventry.
Indeed, this profligacy has drawn the frustration of all Arsenal fans who have watched him play. It is not merely that Giroud does not score; his excellent work rate manufactures chances, but he can never seem to put them away.
That barren run, at least against legitimate competition, will come to a merciful end sooner, rather than later. Olivier Giroud can be the man to replace Robin van Persie and lead Arsenal's line.
Here are seven reasons why.
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Lukas Podolski is the best thing to happen to Arsenal's attack in years. When one watches him on the left wing, it is impossible not to think that he is exactly what the Gunners have been missing since the days of Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg.
The German never tires and constantly looks to scrap for possession. When he wins the ball back, as he usually does, Podolski often looks to either drift inside or storm down his flank and cause chaos.
This disorganization is productive for Giroud. With his ability to make intelligent runs into dangerous positions, he is in the perfect position to capitalize on Podolski's team play.
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I am rather disappointed that Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud have not been on the pitch together for a decent amount of time this season, as I believe that the two could form an absolutely lethal combination when they gel.
Cazorla, as we can observe by watching him play, is always focused on creating chances for others—chances which no one else in the team could manufacture.
And who better to capitalize on the Spaniard's dazzling flair and creativity that Giroud?
Observe the late chance that the latter had against Sunderland in the first game of the season as an example. Cazorla drew the defenders in and, at the perfect moment, played a wonderfully weighted ball to his striker just behind the last line of defence.
Not many more like that will go to waste if they can be produced.
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Looking at Olivier Giroud for one second, you can easily tell that his physique is not a reason why he will not succeed in England.
Simply put, the man's a hunk. I would not want to have to contend with a man of Giroud's massive stature and frame in and around the box, and most defenders cannot over the course of an entire match.
Think of a finesse-style center-back, such as David Luiz, attempting to manhandle a determined Giroud. As the latter continues to get acclimated with his new environment, players like Luiz will have less and less success.
He's Come Close
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It's not as if Giroud is pulling a Marouane Chamakh and is refusing any opportunities to even get close to scoring a goal. On the contrary, every time he has played (sometimes only for a few minutes) he gets a scoring chance.
Eventually, it comes down to the law of averages. Logically, Giroud is due for a shot to land in the back of the net, and if he keeps getting fed the ball by quality players, that moment will only arrive sooner.
He had a golden one-on-one chance against Sunderland that he blew, more than one decent chance against Stoke and the much-talked-about miss from a tight angle that cost Arsenal a point against Chelsea.
Surely Giroud's luck can't continue like that for too much longer.
The Team Is Changing Tactics
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Pay attention when Arsenal move into the attacking third when Olivier Giroud is on the pitch and you will notice the sort of shift in philosophy that we very rarely see from Arsene Wenger.
The manager has certainly not given up his precious ground-passing game, but the likes of Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs are much more likely to cross the ball into Giroud when he is in the box.
Two things make this a viable strategy: Giroud is always in the box, and he has the necessary physical tools to convert those crosses into goals. When intelligent positioning and natural talent combine, a potent product is produced.
With to avenues to score through, Arsenal—and their strikers—have many more options.
He's Already Scored Once
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Giroud needed to buy himself some more time to get on a roll in league play by just scoring in any competition, which he did last week against Coventry in the League Cup.
But the fans won't be satisfied with one of their biggest summer purchases—and the man who was supposed to directly replace the club's best player last season—simply being a cup scorer.
Of course, that is not what Olivier Giroud is. However, he still has to prove it by scoring against more legitimate opposition than a League One side in a competition that few people value highly.
The opening salvo was a good start, though. Now that Giroud knows what it feels like to hit the back of the net wearing an Arsenal shirt and in front of the home crowd, he will have the confidence to put each Chelsea-esque failure behind him and try again for Premier League goal No. 1.
He's Just Too Good
Watch a little compilation of Olivier Giroud's skills, and it is immediately apparent that this is not just another failure from Ligue 1.
Rather, what Arsenal have is a genuinely rare footballing talent that, when it is properly harnessed, can devastate even the world's best league.
All players go through bad patches of form and periods when they are unsettled and out of rhythm, but all the great ones eventually find their own way out of their respective funk.
That is where Giroud is now. He is probing and probing, getting closer to putting the ball across the goal line, but has not quite realized his talent yet.
A player of his natural ability does not suddenly lose it, though. And when he regains his swagger, Giroud will be the unquestioned leader of Arsenal's front line.