Olivier Giroud, will he do for Arsenal? – Second Season blues or second season improves?

OG - Ready to meet all challenges in 2013/14?
OG – Ready to meet all challenges in 2013/14?

Whilst being a home crowd favourite in his first season with his own Beatle themed fan chant from day one Olivier has failed to convince many that he was the replacement for our departed skipper. It might appear with the record bid for Suarez that the management agree but is it that simple?

Has Giroud done enough to convince Wenger that he is indeed the answer but needs a partner in a change of formation?  (Don’t worry it is not a 442 blog – as if!) He has certainly impressed in pre-season and looks leaner sharper and if I dare suggest more confident in the shirt. Whilst I am sure quality can fit in with good players without a pre-season, it obviously cannot hurt and Olivier post Euro’s did not have that last season.

The main criticisms have been directed at his finishing and his pace. Well pace you cannot develop so much but Bergkamp was no speedster. (No not comparing him to DB10.) It is speed of mind as often as not in the penalty area and his 2 natural finishes, albeit one disallowed versus City at the weekend were top draw.

So it comes down to whether he can improve his conversion rate and I believe he can. I have supported him from before we even signed him, having suggested we should, so I am unlikely to change now, but is it realistic? It may surprise many to know his conversion rate in the Premiership is only marginally lower than that of the main target Suarez as this well researched blog by @lewbob91 reveals.

10% chance to goal ratio is not good enough in the PL but is the 12% offered by Suarez worth £50 million? It is also worth noting that Podolski at 20% and Theo at 17% are far more clinical. In short if Luiz Suarez has had 187 attempts on goal he bloody well should have 23 goals.

So is it about the collective goals? I have noted previously that Arsenal last term were only the second team since the turn of the century to have 4 players in double figures in the league. Now given that Theo has his injury issues and the other 3 were all in their first season in England, would it be reasonable to assume that some if not all 4 will improve? For arguments sake let’s consider the impact of all 4 improving just marginally on their 2012/13 tallies.

Would this be impossible?

Player 2012/13 PL Goals 2013/14 PL Goals?
Walcott 14 17
Cazorla 12 14
Giroud 10 16
Podolski 11 13
Total Contribution 47 60


Santi and Theo to reach Freddie and Booby levels?
Santi and Theo to reach Freddie and Booby levels?

The way Walcott is finishing, if he stays fit I feel 17 is realistic. Podolski I think so far has not demonstrated he can play the lone striker role and may struggle for game time if Cazorla stays out left. He is however our most lethal finisher and now fully fit so could improve even from the bench. Santi can grow his influence and reach Fabregas/Pires strike levels from either CAM or LW. Lastly there is absolutely no doubt at all in my mind that Giroud will improve the most is he stays in our attack.

More of this please!
More of this please!

So what would a further 13 goals have meant for an Arsenal? A team with the 2nd best defensive record, despite not sorting it until February and a team that outscored all barring the champions from memory. Well last season it probably would have got us 5/6 extra points and seen us runners up.

None of this positivity and speculation by the way is me saying we should not invest the war chest, but equally I am not as down on the present collective of players as some. Many correctly say we were not good enough against our rivals and this is true and we were not good enough over the season. These are the facts but what is also a fact is the Wenger singularly failed to make the decision about the central defensive partnership until it was too late. It is that fact that saw us go the last 10 games undefeated. Yes we may not have played many of the big boys on the run in but WBA and Swansea lost few matches at home and previous Arsenal sides would have certainly have rolled over when United came back so strongly.

So let’s get back to Olivier Giroud. If I am correct and the new lean mean OG can hit 16 or so in the league it is likely he will score 20 plus in all competitions. That makes him the 20 goal season striker you are all screaming for. Oh no that was Jovetic, the mighty Montenegrin, wanted by so many and signed by City, who has scored 35 league goals in 4 seasons! Of course Jovetic is the complete striker and brings so much more than goal you say? That would be the miserable 17 assists in all competitions in 4 seasons at Fiorentina against Giroud’s 13 in his first season for the Gunners. I have laboured enough on that one I think but you take my point.

Further weight to the ‘Giroud will do’ or at least will improve argument might be to look back at his career. Stepping up from Ligue 2 in France his first season with Montpelier saw him score 12 in 33 league appearances. In his second season however, a vastly different story as his 21 goals in 36 fired his team to the French title. So supportive evidence for a marked second season improvement once accustomed to the new level. The move to the Premiership was another step up and his record in his first season was acceptable if not spectacular. If history repeats itself we are in for a significant increased contribution from the popular Frenchman.

I have endeavoured to explode the 20/30 goals a season striker myth in many blogs with some success, although many I know remain unconvinced. Would it then surprise you to know that in 3 of the last 6 seasons in the Premier League 20 goals would have gained the player the Golden Boot? There will occasionally be a special player who will hit well over 20 but Henry’s, Ronaldos, Drogbas and van Persie’s are not everyday players. Titles are as likely to be won with 3 or 4 players scoring 12 to 16 goals as Chelsea demonstrated emphatically in 2010.

2002 Goals Galore is the target
2002 Goals Galore is the target


The great Arsenal side of 2001/2, for me the best ever, had 3 players in Premiership double figures in Henry, Wiltord and Ljungberg with Pires and Bergkamp on 9. In all competitions all 5 hit well into double figures. I believe we have 4 capable of doing so in 2013/14, but who will be the 5th. If that player arrives we may truly reach the heights but this observer believe Olivier Giroud will be intregral to the campaign whoever arrives.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66



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  1. Giroud’s confidence is up there with the best. Remember him going for the goal from 35 yards trying to beat the keeper ? He is much more confident now. Looks very fit and also his running style has changed. Maybe Mo Farah helped him out , huh ? 🙂 Depending on how we bring in players , his tally may differ. I’d put him down for a minimum of 15 league goals. Let’s see.

    Also, I think Suarez takes more strikes at goal than most. That is what makes him more attractive. Plus the trickery aside.

    Good read sir.

  2. Fully agree with you but still think we need to strengthen , then we would start to dominate again

  3. I Agree

    As much as i want to see more signings i am hoping our regular players will step up, if OG can improve then Arsenal fans will see the difference.

    good luck Gunners

  4. if we don’t give Giroud time to show, we will keep on loosing potentials that are at our disposal due to our impatient nature. Remember it was because Giroud was the best performer at Montpillier that made us think he should be at Emirates and that was just one season time. Just let him give us his best since he has started showing it during the pre-season.

  5. surely,oliver G and Sanogo can pull the trigger for arsenal if given chance to create by motivation.

    1. Adeiza, I quite agree with you that olliver Giroud and Sanogo will shine if given the opportunity. That does not mean that we should not sign Suarez or another top striker. one more reason i agree with you is the Anebira factor. Tao!

  6. I’ll reserve judgement on Giroud scoring an extra 6 goals in the PL when the campaign gets underway but i personally think he’ll do well to match his his exploits from last season. I’m not completely sold on him in 1v1 situation (although he did well v City) and i think going back to your assists assertion, Jovetic is raw but had the ability to drop back into a “9.5 position” almost, look up and thread through a pass against the more stubborn opposition who have two banks of four (seen more so at the Emirates).
    Suarez offers that in the same way Robin Van C**t did. Unfortunately Giroud doesn’t have that and it’s not something you can teach. Theo could break the 20 goal barrier in the PL imo & Podolski is now rid of his ankle injury from last year and is so bloody clinical, i’ll be shocked if he doesn’t get 20 goals in all comps. If we can get Gnasher, Giroud will take a back seat i feel but lets hope he can carry us through the first 6 league games at least.

  7. Great article Dave, you don’t seem rusty at all and you’ve done your research! I have high hopes for OG too – he is looking confident, as you say and such a good pre-season can have done him no harm. This doesn’t mean, as you also say, we don’t need to strengthen, but we should appreciate what we have… I am excited about what this season will bring. Thanks Dave, great piece.

  8. I think Suarez is the guy that will improve all the attackers’ numbers. Jovetic is all hype , numbers don’t lie.

  9. I think we would be able to sort our central striking issues out between Giroud and Walcott, that is, in terms of potential goalscoring ability. It is with the creativity in the final-third that these two falter, as we saw often times last season in games we couldn’t muster a single shot on target. That is where Suarez is heads above every other striker in Europe, save for, Messi maybe. I don’t have the stats to back that assertion but watching LS twist and turn defenders and create chances for both he and his teammates will serve us in good (better) stead, though I balk at the money quoted for him. If we’re going to be sticking with Giroud, then, I’d suggest we get a superbly creative winger who can score goals: a Ben Arfa.

  10. good writeup. nice to know that there are people who still believe that Olee G can still do well in his 2nd season with the gunners. As for me, i strongly believe that hes going to improve come the new season& i see him raking up to 20-25 goals

  11. Many people down play O G’s goals during pre-season because they are just friendlies. For me, many of the goals if not all are quality. I think that he will surely hit at least 20 EPL goals this season provided he has the opportunity. With Suarez serving suspension for the first 10 games of the season, O G will surely have opportunities to inscribe his name on the team sheet. That is assuming Suarez signs for us. If O G continues his goal scoring form, he might force Wenger to change formation to accommodate both he and Suarez. That would be a good head ache for Le Prof.

    1. If Suarez comes, there is no need to change formation. If Suarez plays LW, Santi will play CAM. If Santi plays LW, Suarez will play behind OG (like early last season). Only 2 out of Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere/Rosicky will start. We need goals coming regularly from atlst 4 out of the starting 11 and right now the 4 midfielders arent scoring them.

  12. Good article!
    Surely OG will improve in confidence and it can only be more goals.As you pointed on 1 v 1 situation
    I cannot discredit him on aerial dueling and his physical strength but seems to me is a bit short on tricking and short dribbling .That is where the Uruguayan come with abundance.Suarez make a lot of nuance and either creates a space for himself to score or to assist others.

    As you know we face a lot of difficulty when face teams that park the bus ,In such situation I don`t think Giroud is the fully answer ,Suarez is.

    We don`t have this days somebody half of ala Cesc that can feed Giroud with accurate and pin point passes.Arguably Santi is good at that and this kind of shortage would hamper Giroud to fully exploit his ability.I do hope like the rest of us that Suares will come to us as is going to be a huge plus for Giroud .

  13. Always trusted OG. And he is having a very good pre-season. A quality addition in attacking third, however is always welcome!

  14. Great blog. Agree with all you’ve said 100%

    People forget that Poldi didn’t get nearly as many minutes as he could have and he was struggling with that ankle too. So he should be able to significantly increase his tally with that cannon of a left foot.

    Although I’m still not sold on whether or not I want Suarez at AFC, the thing that does make me partial towards him is his ability to create something from nothing and also his willingness to have a shot. How many times do we all moan that Arsenal over play the ball and shouldjust have a go when given half a second. Suarez would do that without hesitation. As well as filling in on either of the front 4 positions.

  15. I totally agree re Giroud Dave and he has come on in leaps and bounds due to being more settled and also understanding our league better and will only improve the more confident he gets and that comes from scoring and inter-acting with other players on chances, assits and good movement and awareness. Also doesn’t harm with getting him some competition so lets also invest in new players to keep him looking over his shoulder and striving to be the best he can be. #BelieveInGiroud

  16. Charl
    If I have to be honest I am not convinced of Poldy. Here is why : Given his his time on the pitch and the number of goals he scored is impressive for me. But I struggle to give him credit on any thing else. How much is he helping the team when is not scoring ? I would love to see some convincing statistics for my like to change my view on Poldy .For me is bit weird this guy.

    Guess what I wish Arsene will consider a swap deal on that Suarez thing.

  17. Love the post Dave especially how you broke down the possibility of the combination scoring 60 together next season. We still need a bit of strengthening but I don’t see what the fuss is on about Giroud not being up to par.

  18. One stat that I feel Giroud needs to improve on is his goals away from home. He managed just one in the league last season.

    When United bought Robin last summer my Man U supporting mates got excited about having two 20+ goals a season strikers on their books. They scoffed at my assertion that football doesn’t work like that and only one of them would likely hit such heights. I pointed out that when Berbatov was banging the goals in for them, Rooney’s numbers went the other way. When Cisse hit goal scoring form, Ba had a drought. It seems that no team, besides Barca when they had Messi, E’too, and Henry, is capable of having more than one player who scores such high numbers in the same season.

    I say this for one reason. If we sign a Suarez or Martinez, don’t expect it to have a positive effect on Giroud, Podolski and/or Walcott’s numbers.

    1. True that. But then, you don’t need two 20+ players to win the title. You need to have the resources to win games, so the more and varied players who can contribute you have in your squad, the more likely you are to beat teams in different situations. Sometimes you need a guy who can pick a lock, sometimes you need one who is unstoppable in the counter attack and deliver a sucker punch, sometimes you need a guy who can come in in the last 10 mins and have an impact. I’m not too worried about our players reaching 20+ goals, but find it more important to have players who can deal with situations and deliver us victories.

  19. I think we can expect an improvement. I think Giroud’s Achilles heal was that he felt that he belonged in the side. I think the move was too much for him at times but now he appears to be much more comfortable in the side and that should help him immensely

  20. As long as OG stays injury free….

    Is it true, we’re going to loan jenkinson? When nearly all our defender are injured atm?

  21. Great POST, I totally believe O G will increase his tally with the way his confidence has jumped high…..buh the headache is really that the TEAM is TINY or THIN , we want to go far in all competitions and possibly have equal chances of winning the cups too, so we need a robust quality team both starters and on the bench…ala chelsqi last season

  22. Commenting 2 months late, but I only discovered this yummy blog of yours. Would the 5th be A.Ramsey now? (and Mesut possibly 6th?)

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