Arsenal: Will Olivier Giroud Go on a Scoring Streak?
There has been a certain anxiety hanging over the question of when new Arsenal signing Olivier Giroud would score his first Premier League goal.
His assured equalizer against West Ham settled that question.
And the new question is, now that the Frenchman has found his scoring touch, can Arsenal fans expect the barrage of goals they crave?
Giroud has shown himself to be a somewhat streaky striker in the past. Often for Montpellier, and particularly for previous club Tours, his goals tended to come in spates, with occasional dry periods in between.
Strikers who hit form and suddenly, sometimes unpredictably, score in braces and hat tricks can be thrilling for supporters—but also frustrating. Dimitar Berbatov is a prime example.
But there are conditions at Arsenal that should ensure Giroud will find more consistent form.
Arsène Wenger has been introducing Giroud carefully as the new Arsenal front line takes shape. The trip to West Ham was only his third start in the Premier League.
It was a widely anticipated start, as Wenger looked to add height and physicality against Sam Allardyce's side.
This calculated approach does two things: 1) It relieves the pressure on Giroud to fill a primary goal scoring role and 2) it tailors performances to his strengths. Both should help ensure Giroud's overall effectiveness.
Will Olivier Giroud go on a scoring streak for Arsenal?
The former is greatly helped by the fact that, despite concerns following Robin van Persie's exit, there has been no dearth of goals from all over the Arsenal team.
Gervinho has come good, Walcott is making a creditable bid for his long-desired move to a central-forward role and new boys Podolski and Cazorla settled quickly into attacking form. At West Ham, one of Arsenal's most testing shots came from centre-back Per Mertesacker.
So Giroud has been allowed the mental space to find his feet without the pressure of trying to replace van Persie as the main source for Arsenal goals.
That continued security should help him define and develop into his own role comfortably, relieving the scoring anxiety that can be a major mental factor with hit-or-miss strikers.
That will go a long way to ensuring consistent performances, as will Wenger's targeted use.
Arsenal's next two Premier League matches offer great scoring opportunities.
Even if Giroud only comes on as a substitute, it seems a good bet he can score against the leaky Norwich defence. And QPR's visit to the Emirates the following week strips them of their only really reliable weapon so far this season, the Loftus Road crowd.
If Giroud does use his Premier League scoring debut to launch a scoring streak, Gunners will hope it extends into November, when Arsenal travel to Old Trafford.
But for the long term, Giroud is being groomed to be more a consistent performer than streaky striker.
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