5 Things That Must Change for Olivier Giroud to Succeed at Arsenal
Olivier is finally enjoying the first purple patch of his Arsenal career with a run of five goals between his last three games in all competitions, between two against West Ham, two against Brighton & Hove Albion and another against Liverpool.
However, there is still much that is left for the big center forward to truly start to make the difference for the Gunners that he needs to be making on a consistent basis.
Giroud's manager Arsene Wenger himself spoke to the need of the player to grow in consistency with the club:
He started a bit sloppy and has become stronger and stronger. When he gets into the fighting mode, it is difficult to handle him. This guy is tall, strong and quicker than people think he is. He has good finishing as well.
He could have played in England 20 years ago, 10 years ago and today. He has all you need to play as a centre-forward. He has a physical presence. Giroud gives us something different. I believe with him and Theo we have a good blend.
That blend proved the difference at the Emirates against Liverpool, as a three minute span saw the two cancel out the Reds' two goal lead and eventually earn the Gunners a draw.
Embracing the EPL's Physical Nature
For the most part, Olivier Giroud has begun to fit into the much more physical style of play that the English Premier League has on offer as compared to the French Ligue 1.
However, Giroud still has moments where he goes down easy, such as his booking against Liverpool, and he also gets pushed around by defenders who are obviously smaller but who are physically out-matching the Frenchman with their strength.
Giroud needs to start getting his body strength incorporated more into his game to really make the most of his 6'4" frame against smaller defenders.
Be More Clinical in Front of Goal
Scoring 15 goals from 94 shots in all competitions for the Gunners is a rough return for the Frenchman. Of those 94 shots, only 44 have been on target.
With those numbers, he is still not as consistent of a threat as would be wanted. In comparison, Theo Walcott, his counterpart in hopes of being the primary center forward for Arsenal has a much better return.
Walcott has 66 shots with 36 on target and 17 goals. Giroud needs to make the most of his opportunities, as so far he has been offered many chances without being clinical.
(All stats are from ESPN FC, and they do not include the Jan. 30, 2013, match against Liverpool)
Get the Supporters Behind Him
It goes without saying that one of the most important points of any player's success at a club is the support from the fans. However, Giroud has yet to truly convince many of the Gunners' fans.
His performances over the last week have been impressive, but he still has a ways to go to make sure that his name becomes regularly discussed and shouted about at any Arsenal fixture.
Prove He Is There to Win
The last few appearances have been the best of Giroud's career at Arsenal. However, he has to expand that to a much larger grouping of fixtures to prove that he is there to win.
If Giroud can put the club on his back a time or two and help them grind out and find points in the league, then he will go a long way to proving to his fans that he is a winner.
Earn His Team's Respect and Belief
Sometimes it takes time for new players to settle into a new league. Edin Dzeko of Manchester City is one such player that did so; Olivier Giroud is proving to be another.
As time goes by, his performances have to earn the faith of his teammates. To keep goal hungry players such as Theo Walcott, who should be a primary assisting source for Giroud, from believing more in themselves when another (Giroud) is in a better scoring position is a must.
If Giroud can show that when his supporting cast gives him the ball in faith that he will deliver, then he will have it made as to earning his supporters' and teammates' respect and appreciation, which are the most important parts of English football.