Get off Giroud’s back and help him rebuild his confidence
The fallout has descended from what was a frustrating transfer window to say the least, constant links with star strikers across the world were short lived as we became the only club in Europe’s top five leagues not to sign an outfield player – for the first team anyway…
It seems the main backlash of this failed striker recruitment has landed primarily on the head of poor ol’ Olivier Giroud, the man who it seems at the moment just simply cannot catch a break. A telling factor of his recent woes was his performance in France’s most recent friendly against Serbia, a night that some Arsenal fans will tell you is ‘classic Giroud’.
Despite the French securing a 2-0 win courtesy of two Blaise Matuidi goals our big French striker suffered a performance similar to ‘that night against Monaco’ subjected to jeers from the French support after a wasteful display in front of goal – ironically he was replaced by Karim Benzema.
Sadly it seems as if confidence has been siphoned from Olivier’s veins, he is in a poor mind frame at this current moment and this has not been helped by the constant criticism aimed at him. With Danny Welbeck suffering what has to be one of the most covered up injury lay-offs in recent times Giroud is now arguably our only out and out striker left – Theo is a viable option but his style differs from that of a traditional centre forward.
I had previously stated in a past article that I would prefer Theo to start over Giroud and this is a statement to which I still stand by, but this is not because I do not value our French striker’s place at the club, it was simply a tactical thought. Walcott’s pace is what scares defences and at the start of the game this forces them to play deeper to accommodate his athletic capabilities giving our midfielders technicians more space to create and scheme, which is where our team thrive.
Giroud I feel would have a much greater impact from the bench giving us a new physical dimension, a case in point was at Goodison Park during the start of last season. At 2-0 down Olivier came on and changed the game, holding up the ball and making himself a hand full for the Everton defenders. He scored the equaliser in that game with a lovely header and it was a perfect cameo performance showing what he is capable of if used in the right way.
Unfortunately he suffered a serious injury in the aftermath of that performance but it was typical Giroud, a weapon that when used in the correct manner can be brutally effective. Can we all just remind ourselves how gutted we were when this injury was announced? I know I was, I knew how it would negatively impact upon our team and it did. We became a dis-jointed team carried by the enigma that is Alexis Sanchez but it was proof enough to me that Giroud is a vital piece in our squad puzzle and should be valued more.
It has become glaringly obvious to me that he is a player who thrives off confidence, more so than a lot of strikers in the Premier League. Back in February in a report by the Evening Standard Giroud himself even stated his troubles with his own self-confidence and how it can plague his form on the pitch.
“I try to give my best every game, sometimes it goes easy, sometimes I struggle a bit more, but it is always a determination, I try to keep it high in my head, because it is my worst enemy”.
What worries me more than anything about this quote more than anything is the time period in which it was recorded. February of last season is when Giroud was embarking on arguably his finest form so far in an Arsenal shirt, his goals were the main catalyst in what was a crucial unbeaten run which allowed us to secure Champions League football. It seemed no coincidence to me that the form of player’s like Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla picked up during this period because our no. 12 had made himself into the ideal focal point for our attack and the rest of the team thrived during this period.
Yet he was still battling with these self-confidence demons despite his impressive form, he is sensitive to criticism even at the best of times so criticism and insults when he is out of form will only damage his demeanour further – which is what is currently occurring.
Of course form of this calibre was not to last forever, let’s be honest it very rarely does unless your Messi or Ronaldo, but like clockwork as soon as Olivier’s form dipped the critics came out from hiding and began hammering him once again.
‘You can’t win the title with Giroud’ and ‘we need a world-class striker’ are just some of the classic lines which sadly have come to epitomise the Frenchmen’s time at Arsenal. Why are we so critical towards one of our own? We have seen what he is capable of and in my eyes he has performed to a high standard considering the pace and style of Ligue 1 is considerably different to that of the Premier League.
I am not saying that Giroud could not have been improved upon in the transfer market, of course he could have but the clubs hierarchy opted against this and now it is our job as fans to get behind the players plying their trade for our club. Confidence can often stem from the love shown by fans and in the case of our big handsome Frenchmen a statement has never been more fitting. Let’s try and rebuild his confidence and get him firing on all cylinders again – he’s pretty good when he is.