Is Olivier Giroud Becoming the Reliable Scorer Arsenal Need?

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal jumps above Scott Parker of Fulham to head the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on August 24, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Great teams require great goalscorers.

Most title-winning Premier League sides had been able to rely upon a talisman in front of goal. Last season, Manchester United were able to call upon Robin van Persie. The season before, Manchester City could count upon the explosive finishing of Sergio Aguero.

Arsene Wenger's own trophy-winning sides have included the likes of Ian Wright, Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry. The French manager knows better than most the value of a prolific striker.

In 2012/13, having lost van Persie to United, Arsenal didn't have one predominant goalscoring threat. Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla all contributed, but no single player was ever a contender to take home the Golden Boot.

This season, that could change.

Olivier Giroud has started the 2013/14 campaign like a man who means business.

Already he has three goals in just three games. However, it's not just his form in front of goal that's impressive. Giroud's all-round game is improving too. Against Fulham, he helped create the third goal for Lukas Podolski by bringing the ball under control with an exquisite piece of skill. His confidence has grown, and he is trying things he would not have dared to attempt a year ago.

Arsene Wenger is not surprised. Speaking to in the wake of the Fulham match, Wenger said:

His second season is always better than his first one. You could see as well technically today that he was quite impressive. His physical presence up front is very important and I think he looks like he's much more confident than last year.

The stats back up Wenger's assertion that Giroud improves in his second year. In 2008, he joined Tours. In his first campaign, Giroud netted 14 times. The following year, he scored 24.

After joining Montpellier, his first campaign yielded just 14 goals, while the next season brought 25.

Giroud is clearly a player who benefits from a period of adaptation.

If Arsenal are to stay in the top four, and perhaps even challenge for trophies, they need a player who can scorer 25 to 30 goals to propel them to the top. Giroud has not regularly achieved those numbers throughout his career, but he is only now arriving at the peak of his powers. With the generous supply line of ammunition provided by the likes of Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott, Giroud could fire Arsenal back to where they belong.

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013/14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.