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Giroud needs some stiff competition at Arsenal
Let me introduce you to Arsenal’s attacking triumvirate that started against Tottenham.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal’s purple-patch striker with 14 goals to his name. Responsible for scoring against Coventry, West Ham (thrice), Reading, Schalke 04 (twice), Fulham (twice), Tottenham, Newcastle (twice), Brighton (twice) and Liverpool.
The French forward was supported on the right by Arsenal’s leading goalscorer, Theo Walcott, who has banged 18 goals past Southampton, Coventry (twice), West Ham (twice), Reading (four times), Schalke 04, Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle (thrice), Chelsea, Brighton and Liverpool.
On the left-hand side, Lukas Podolski was replaced by Santi Cazorla, the Spanish magician who has had his fair share of goals as well against the likes of Liverpool, West Ham (twice), Manchester United, Tottenham, Reading (thrice), Sunderland and Aston Villa (twice).
On paper, the attack seems really formidable, but when the going gets really tough in hostile grounds like White Hart Lane, they get really subdued.
Arsenal’s attack was also nowhere to be found in grounds like Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, not because the opposition defenses were super, but because the forward line failed to utilize the half chances they got.
Take the game against Chelsea for instance, Giroud had a clear-cut chance early on but fired his effort wide of the mark. Moments later, Juan Mata had a chance in a more difficult situation with Sagna breathing down his neck, but he still managed to get the ball under control before curling it past Szczesny in goal.
Against Tottenham on Sunday, Santi Cazorla threaded a sumptuous diagonal ball to Giroud in behind the defense and the Frenchman chose to have a couple of touches before the danger was averted by Michael Dawson. If that ball had fallen to the Radamel Falcaos, Robert Lewandowskis, Sergio Agueros and Karim Benzemas of football, the keeper would have been forced to make a save at least.
Many Gunners have been rightly patient with Giroud with him arriving from another footballing culture, but games are won with goals, and we can see that he and his counterparts fell short in a game they were needed to stand up and be counted.
I would have traded Walcott’s hat-tricks against Newcastle and Reading for one goal against Tottenham, but it was not to be.
I really hope that they get their acts right in the remaining Premier League games the Gunners have because we have to make do with what we have till the summer at least.