Well enough of that frivolity and to the serious business of the day. I had not realized that the transfer window was still open myself but on twitter and in the press I am still reading about which strikers Wenger is going to bring in. The Mirror or the Mail I cannot recall which even had a short list of our targets to replace the player, who for me as much as anyone had taken us to the top of the Premier League and kept us there.
Olivier Giroud has only been outscored this season in the Premier league to date by 5 players and only 6 players have provided more assists. Our French talisman has 10 league goals and 6 league assists which means he has had a critical say in 16 of Arsenal’s 47 goals so far. For the non mathematicians among you that is 34% or over a third of our goals.
Could he score more? Yes of course he could but as I suggested in my blog a few weeks back when we play to his strengths he scores. He gets across the defender or keeper at the near post and diverts crosses into the goal as well as any striker in this league. The most recent finish against the Saints was divine. Most of his goals come from crosses and it continually amazes me that our fans criticize him for not latching on to incredible through balls from our creative midfielders. Well from my perspective if the ball is ahead of Olivier Giroud and requires him to use his pace to latch on to it, it is the deliverer of the pass at fault and not Girioud. He has his strengths and he has his weaknesses. If we play to his strengths which are obvious we should not need to dwell on his weaknesses.
He is not Luis Suarez and is unlikely to create a goal for himself with a moment of individual brilliance but he is likely to create a goal for a team mate with individual brilliance as he did for Jack against Norwich or last week for Ox against Palace. In the final analysis a goal is a goal no matter who creates or who finishes.
In addition I cannot begin to quantify the importance of his defensive ability, most particularly his headed clearances from set pieces. If I knew where to find the stats I would include them but I imagine there is not a single game that goes by without at least one crucial Giroud header to clear a corner. Yet another clear example of Giroud’s key role in this team.
Many Gunners will counter this as some did when I tweeted about it saying that they don’t want him replaced they want him supported. I can buy this to a degree and most of you know I would favour the occasional use of a 2 striker system in some matches. When Walcott plays he often is effectively a second striker but in the main we play with just the one and that one is Giroud. His ability and attributes are crucial to the way this Arsenal team play and Podolski or Walcott in his role necessitate a change in style. Bendtner is the obvious like for like stand in and that is an option of course but he does not hold up and bring the midfield into play in the way the Frenchman can.
So where am I going with all this and do I have a point? Well yes I hope I do and that you will find it reassuring if you feel that Giroud is crucial to our ultimate success this season. I personally believe this and whilst not completely happy that Wenger did not strengthen offensively I take solace in some research I have done and the findings.
The major concern that everyone seems to have is that Giroud will breakdown, get overly tired or worse case scenario get an injury. Well one can never be certain of course on the injury but as for needing a rest I would suggest that is unlikely. Why? Well as my teenage son would say ‘Cos Giroud is a tank!’
This is his 5th season as a first choice striker so let’s assess his league record:
|Season||Club||League||Games total||Games played||Goals|
So to summarize in nearly 5 seasons Olivier Giroud had played in 205 out of a possible 214 league matches leading the line for his respective clubs. He has missed just 9 games and has in those 204 games scored 75 goals at a rate of better than 1 in 3.
To analyze further we should consider why he has missed the grand total of 9 games in 4 and three quarters seasons.
|2011/12||2||Both not selected|
|2012/13||4||1 ill, 2 suspended and 1 not selected|
|2013/14||2||1 injured and 1 not selected|
So in summary across a total of 214 possible league fixtures Olivier Giroud has played led the line in 205 and of the 9 games he has not appeared ONLY 2 have been as a result of injury of illness.
So shall we stop fretting and just enjoy Oliver Giroud continuing to lead the Arsenal attack for the next 14 games, scoring goals, superbly retaining possession, assisting in intricate build up play and unselfishly creating opportunities for others? We cannot replace him or buy to support him until the summer so let’s continue to get behind the big man, with the deftness of touch and hope that he remains ‘LeTank.’
If you enjoy the detail in this piece and like to think you are a bit of an Arsenal statto yourself you may wish to test your Arsenal knowledge in the How well do you know your team game from Ladbrokes