Olivier Giroud: 3 Reasons He Should Never Have Signed for Arsenal
The key reasons why Giroud could go down as a failed experiment for Arsene Wenger revolve around three areas: goalscoring efficiency, the effectiveness of his other contributions and how he fits into the team.
First, certain caveats apply.
There are without doubt players at Arsenal who contribute less and frustrate more, but nobody really needs to examine why, say, Marouane Chamakh never should have signed for Arsenal.
And coming in during a summer of upheaval, of course Giroud could never be expected to "replace" Robin van Persie; that was never the intention or expectation, nor is it a consideration in analysing his effectiveness.
There was always a risk, too, that Giroud, top scorer in Ligue 1 last season, would take time to adjust to the Premier League. Every player coming from another league deserves some grace time, as anyone who remembers the start of Thierry Henry's Arsenal career will attest.
But Giroud has not really struggled with adapting to the league. Nine league goals from 18 starts is a respectable return.
However, there is a fundamental mismatch between Arsenal and Giroud.
While Giroud's total goal tally of 14 may be respectable, his efficiency in front of goal is lacking.
According to EPL Index stats, Giroud has among the worst conversion and shot accuracy rates in the league.
To put this in perspective, Giroud's numbers purely in terms of chance conversion and shot accuracy place him well below the league's most maligned striker, Fernando Torres.
At the same time, Giroud struggles to make an impact in areas complementary to goalscoring.
His pass completion rate, key passes and successful dribbles lag behind the contributions of his offensive teammates by some distance. Nor does he draw as many fouls.
No one can fault Giroud's efforts on the pitch—he is not a player who drifts in and out of games, or disappears for long periods. So why is his effective contribution so limited?
This question points to the crux of the problem: his role at Arsenal. Giroud is simply the wrong kind of player for Wenger's side.
Giroud operates at his best as a pure centre-forward, a position that is increasingly becoming marginalised in the modern game.
It is certainly a position that Arsenal under Wenger have moved away from. Wenger's wide players typically concentrate on cutting in rather than crossing—Arsenal's poor scoring record from corners is no accident.
There is an argument to be made that bringing Giroud in could help solve precisely that kind of issue; that he could effectively bring a different dimension to Arsenal's game.
The problem is, it is impractical to expect one player to provide an entire plan B, particularly when the rest of the team is set up for a completely different approach.
Pep Guardiola found that to be the case even with a striker of the highest pedigree. Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to excel at Barcelona because his role was incompatible with the side, regardless of his quality.
In effect, Giroud is the Ibrahimovic to Arsenal's Barcelona impression.
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