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Olivier Giroud shows his strength.
For most of Arsene Wenger's reign at Arsenal he has favoured a quick, technical centre-forward. Ian Wright, Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry all fit that mould.
Throughout that time, pundits and fans alike implored Arsene Wenger to embrace an alternative type of striker. Sometimes, when the going gets tough, you need a forward prepared to play within the confines of the penalty box and wrestle opposition defenders for space.
Arsenal fans hoped Marouane Chamakh might be the man to provide an alternative option. Sadly, his form dwindled and he fell out of contention.
Olivier Giroud looks a far more realistic contender to fill that void.
Arsenal have plenty of speedy, skillful players. They have very few like Giroud. When the intricate passing of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla fails to break down a defence, they can now fall back on the Frenchman’s collection of attributes.
In short, if Cazorla can’t pick the lock, Giroud will smash it.
I don’t want to do Giroud a disservice by suggesting that his qualities are solely physical. They’re not: he has real technical ability, as his immaculate first-touch demonstrates. It’s simply that it’s his strength that makes him unique and subsequently invaluable among Arsenal’s forwards.
Already this season he has competed in 159 aerial duels, winning more than half of them. To put that in context, Arsenal’s primary alternative at centre-forward, Theo Walcott, has competed in just 17 (via EPLIndex.com).
Giroud brings variety to Arsenal’s attacking play. Even if they add another centre-forward in the Henry mould, he will remain an important option.