Wenger: Late bloomer Giroud can get better

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Arsene Wenger says Olivier Giroud’s comparatively late climb up football’s ladder has stood him in good stead for the challenge of life at Arsenal.

Praising the 28-year-old as one of the game’s best strikers – why wouldn’t you…the handsome fella has bagged 17 goals in 26 games this term – the boss noted that his compatriot has improved all elements of his game since signing from Montpellier three years ago.

“He is a player who has a good mental strength because at 22 he was playing in division three,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “Now he plays at Arsenal. There is still room for improvement for him.

“He benefits from the fact that he has not started a few games. He has also improved his technical game. Technically he is a much better player and that’s why he scores goals.

“His touch, his link play, his finishing [has all improved]. He takes some images from when he arrived in England and today he is a better player.

“I think [he is one of the best strikers around] because he scores the goals, has a presence and he’s a fighter as well. Above all he is a team player – he fights for the team.”

In an interesting Daily Mail column last week [not something we often say], Martin Keown noted how Arsene Wenger has taken to deploying Giroud in the same way George Graham utilised John Hartson; as an old-school physical presence.

“[Giroud’s] involvement shows how Wenger’s philosophy has almost come full circle,” wrote Keown.

“When he arrived he sold John Hartson and instead opted for pacy forwards. Now he has reverted to Giroud, who is in a similar mould — there’s not a great deal of difference between a Welsh battering ram and a French one.

“Not to say they are one-dimensional players, far from it. Hartson was technically sound, a giant in the air and provided a different attacking dimension. Giroud offers the same. But Wenger now seems to want physicality back at the top of the side.

“That means the team have had to play in a different way, though that is not a bad thing. Giroud’s link-up play is exceptional and Arsenal use him like a backboard, holding up play and waiting for others to run from deep and join the attack and he has been at the heart of many of Arsenal’s best team goals.”

We’re not convinced that Giroud represents a totally new phenomenon in the Wenger era, after all Emmanuel Adebayor provided a similarly destructive presence for a couple of season (when he could be arsed).

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CB

Physicality, power and pace are the three things we have been lacking in recent years.

Glad to see them coming back.

TR7

I’m so tired of pundits saying, “He will never be world class.” Idiots.

Arsepedant

Could say that about a few posters on here too. Giroud is definitely world class.

Dave Gooner

2 against the bin dippers on Saturday will shut them up Olivier!!!

Mootilated

Absolute beast of a player he has become. Love him. Had he not been injured for three months it is possible he could be joint, if not, top scorer.

Double98

Posted this in the Akpom article but obvs more relevant here … he is a beast —– Dutch Skunk took about 240 games to get 100 goals for arsenal Giroud has 56 in 124 and he’s getting better and better (games per goal) – gpg) Season 1 – 2.76 gpg Season 2 – 2.31 gpg Season 3 – 1.52 gpg* * This season (which is not over obvs) Giroud is more prolific than Henry in any of his first 4 seasons. Obviously he hasn’t the direct assists that Henry gets but he does a lot of work that indirectly leads… Read more »

AK 57

Girouds overall goal per game ratio is fourth best in arsenal’s history after Wright, Henry, RVP. Not bad company to have some one not ‘world class’. That £12m we payed for him sounds like a bargain.

Dick Swiveller

I’m not sure you should compare RvP and Giroud in those terms. RvP came in as a 21 year old talent, and was eased into the team whereas Giroud was a 25 year old who came in as the top scorer in France, and went straight into the team.

You’re entirely right about everything else, though.

Double98

21 is hardly a baby but i get your point.

How about comparing him with Ian Wright – Ian joined us in his pomp at 27

he was an out and out striker who played most effectlively with a target man.

Well he only had 3 seasons more prolific than Olivier’s current campaign in terms of gpg.

Dick Swiveller

That’s a little better, and also quite surprising, but in a good way.

Anonymous Physicist

Also, RvP didn’t come in as a central striker – he played on the wing for Feyenoord and he started off on the wing or behind the main striker at Arsenal.

Emmanuel

What’s more exciting is that he can keep going for a number of years. Most pacy strikers have to adapt as they grow older and the pace starts to wane. Thankfully for him he doesn’t rely on running past defenders but excellent positioning. As he masters his finishing, he’s bound to become more lethal because he’s never been guilty of poor positional play

bergkamp's hooped sock

He was really frustrating in his first season but has come a looong way since. Here’s to many more goals in red for him.

Ultimate Gooner

I always knew there was a ‘Drogba’ somewhere in him.. glad he is showing it now

Rohith J

He’s equaled his tally during his first season here in spite of playing 21 games less. Says a lot.

rummy

He’s only 6 goals behind Costa after half a season injured. I don’t think the golden boots unrealistic!

Anonymous Physicist

Overtaking Costa seems pretty unlikely with only 8 games to go while 6 goals behind. And he definitely can’t overtake both Costa and Kane (who’s at the same number as Costa). I don’t think Kane is necessarily going to be a world beater (he may just as well turn out to be the next Bent/Carroll/whoever), but he is really banging in the goals against the lesser teams at the moment.

Jimmy C

Adebayor is still a very destructive presence…. just not on the field

andre santos

1) Giroud has turned it on immensely during the last few months and hats off to him for that. We still need one more forward to share the workload though. We are lacking a forward of the suarez, aguero, tevez mold. Small, technically brilliant and fast with reasonably good hold up play. Based on watching youtube this fella dybala might be that final piece of our attacking contingent. Adding him to the squad might give us that extra little push towards the title next season. 2) Defensively we re in much better shape now. 4 quality fullbacks in gibbs, monreal,… Read more »

Cele

Based on watching youtube Park looked like a world beater.

andre santos

haha true that.
there seems to be a lot of hype regarding dybala though. Park was a strange unknown panic buy.

alexis' shorts

Although the tabloids are jumping on the possibility of us getting Dybala, Palermo looks like they’ll want close to $50 mil for him (their owner has consistently bigged him as the next Ronaldo). I doubt we’ll pay close to that for someone who isn’t proven. If we do then I’ll really be surprised that we’ve turned that financial conservativeness over to compete with the other big spenders. Getting him would probably spell the end for Walcott though – which would be an easier pill to swallow since we’d replace him with someone 4 years younger. I highly doubt it happening,… Read more »

Less rambly Pete

I think Alexis might he something to say about point number 1.

Dick Swiveller

Another one would be nice though, no?

andre santos

alexis will be playing on the left.
what i said was we need an alternative to giroud. Another clinical forward to help with the workload due to the number of games we play throughout the season. All the top sides have 2 prolific number 9s.
If not dybala then someone else maybe, but definitely 1 more player unless walcott can be converted to a no 9 and play through the middle

Stillmatic

Alexis was clearly bought to play that role. That was made clear at the beginning when Wenger referred to him as a striker and constantly pointed out he could play as a false 9. What happened was that Alexis needed time to adjust, as the whole team would have to change it’s style of play. Then Giroud got injured and Wenger got Welbeck in the mean time. Of course now Giroud is back plus still having Welbeck, the need for Alexis on the left was more important, especially as Santi gained form in the middle and Giroud returned with a… Read more »

rohit

Welbeck is going to be a very good center forward. Wait for two years. He has the pace and makes good runs but just lacks finishing and that is something wenger can definitely improve in him. Examples – walcott, giroud, ramsey, adebayor etc.

Stillmatic

Walcott was always a good finisher, it was everything else he lacked at the time.
Same for Ramsey prior to his leg break.

Adebayor is definitely the best example though. No one believed he could ever be a 30-goal scorer, that’s for sure.

Anonymous Physicist

This is the key to our summer transfer policy for me: do we believe Welbeck is going to be a very good central striker. If we do, we shouldn’t buy another striker, as Welbeck needs the playing time as backup to Giroud to develop into proper competition for Giroud. If we don’t believe, we should buy another striker to be that proper competition to Giroud. I don’t think Wenger will try to move Sanchez to the middle anytime soon, although he certainly provides valuable cover for that position. Personally, I don’t necessarily believe Welbeck will be a great number 9,… Read more »

todayiamkg

“Small technically brilliant and fast with reasonable hold up play”

lol what if he has all the attributes and happens to be big?

J Reihill

Im not sure Wenger has changed that much/come full circle. I thinks its mostly due to what was available. If RVP had of stayed where would Giroud be. Similarly if we signed Suarez……..
This isnt a criticism of giroud or wenger- its just the way it worked out. Indeed looking at giroud he would have been a perfect player in wengers earlier years………. when he perhaps he could have supplied the fabled plan B.

GoonaChris

To think there are some Arsenal fans out there who still think this guy is not good enough!

Leaving the shocking Monaco game aside, he has been consistently reliable in front of goal all season long, and in all the big games too now.

Possession

Some say Edin Djeko has more quality than Ollie. I say na na na na, na na na na Giroud.

Mark

One thing that has probably propelled Giroud to the level he is playing at now is having more competition for his spot week to week with Sanchez and of course Welbeck in the squad. While he was out he was able to watch how both really play all around games and since his return from injury Giroud has become much more of a two way player, really working more on the defensive side coming back deep to help and often you will find him covering the wings defensively when players are interchanging and out of position. He also seems to… Read more »

Goon

I think next season I would like Welbeck to improve on his hold up play and his link up play especially. Giroud is far more superior at this than Welbeck and as long as Giroud is fit we will see Welbeck play on the wing. I am struggling to see where Akpom will fit in in the next few years if he is deemed good enough. I wonder who will leave this summer too. I know I want Walcott out because he is too one dimensional and technically rubbish and if we want to challenge for titles, we need intelligent… Read more »

Stillmatic

Akpom? I wanna see how bloody Sanogo fits into all of this.

Ian Wright's Farmer Cap

I have no idea how people continue to slate Giroud, but at the end of the day, the numbers speak for themselves. I have a feeling that all too often, everyone, fans included, get too caught up in the media angle. Lazy journalists recycling stories that were barely relevant when first written, as Giroud was settling in to the PL…people get the idea that this is what everybody thinks and parrot along to avoid looking like they don’t know what they’re talking about, rather than trusting their eyes. Along with Özil, it’s a ridiculous case of The Emperor’s New Clothes… Read more »

Ramsey the phoenix

Many will always deny Giroud the attribute of top striker just because he is a late bloomer. Lot of fans base their assessment of footballers on a single game, a single gesture in one game, a pundit’s verbal diarrhea or even an agent’s sales pitch. Once an agent pretends a player who hasn’t achieved anything is worth 20 millions there a world class player was born in some weak minds.

Arteta Fan

Giroud is the backboard for Ozil, Sanchez, Weibeck, Cazorla and the others. The handsome backboard with skills “too boot” as my mom would say. What Wenger has done is adapt to the team and players he was able to get as well as get them to learn and adapt to him. The job of the manager is to get the best from his players as a team to win games. I say well done Wenger, well done Giroud and well done Arsenal. Your class, professionalism and fighting spirit are quite inspiring! For all the bashers who have gone somewhat silent… Read more »

Lass

He’s 28 so he will have at least 2-3 prime seasons in him before the inevitable physical decline. By then Welbeck will hopefully have stepped his game up.

Arsene's Selfie Stick

I love the way he’s capable of launching these howitzers of shots at times. Now his confidence is up I’m hoping for some long range howitzers from our man Giroud. He reminds me of the characters in beat ’em ups that were huge and a little slow but if you let them connect they were devastating.

goonermonkey

NA NA NA NANANANA, NANANANA, GIIIIII ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUD!

Love the handsome french bastard.

that is all

goonermonkey

*Not that I’m questioning his parentage. Or his character. I’m sure there are several other team’s fans that have called him far worse.

Snortboy

The reason we have so many different scorers this season is down to Girouds hold up play , I think he is as good or better than Lukaku

Merlin's Panini

He’s much better than Lukaku. Lukaku has stalled because he has no point to prove anymore and no great competition for his place at Everton. He could still be a good striker in time but Giroud is the much more complete centre forward at the moment.

flamini's pointy finger

My girlfriend let’s me watch football with her because of him in a tight top so he will always be a winner in my books. And he scores a bit too

Cagooner

Watch he doesn’t score round your place!

Canuck Gunner

Some fans are pretty fickle. One bad game and he is not good enough to lead the front for Arsenal. He has improved greatly and everyone is allowed an off day every now and then. In the past, his finishing rate was one of my main criticisms of him, but other than the Monaco game, he has vastly improved his scoring touch this season. I’m not convinced we need another striker to compete with Giroud or to give an alternative option. Including players coming back from loan, we’ve got guys like Wellbeck, Walcott, Poldi, Sonogo, Campbell, and others. I know… Read more »

forgot my usual username

Sanogo. Haha, he’s still crap. Hasn’t got any better with Palace, still not scored even though he’s had a few starts and is subbed on every game.

Merlin's Panini

He has scored for Palace… once.

Canuck Gunner

I have to admit, I haven’t been following Sonogo’s progress at Palace. Wenger seems to see something in him, so would expect another year or two out on loan to see if he develops.

Zack

Ollie currently LEADS THE LEAGUE in non-penalty goals per 90 minutes played (source: http://statsbomb.com/2015/03/is-manuel-pellegrini-getting-a-raw-deal-at-man-city-premier-league-round-up/)

He’s been a completely different beast this year, I guess it helps to not have to play every single game while being the target of every single one of our set pieces. I think he’s improved in areas other than finishing too; his link play is better than ever, his first touch has been otherworldly, and his decision making excellent. I’ve never been happier to eat my words.

Go on Ollie!

santori

To understand why Wenger favours a physical presence like Giroud, you have to understand that we tend to play against compact opposition sitting deep in their half and who will take us on the counter. Giroud is the sort of player who will either make space physically or with deft flicks for both himself and his teammates. In particular as we employ a second attacking line of relatively smaller players (Bar say Ramsey and the missing Diaby), it makes sense to have the extra height and strength. This is also useful for set pieces from which we have to defend… Read more »

santori

Coquelin-Flamini Whilst I am the first to have said last summer that the retention of Coquelin has reason behind it, Coquelin was half way out the door and has imposed his stature in the team purely through hard work and gumption. He is a fantastic player who adds great physicality and technical ability. However I feel that there is a current trend toward negating the qualities of Flamini because of this and vice versa over inflating Coquelin. When you look at both the recent game against the Magpies and the Hammers, there were two ocassions in the former when Sissoko… Read more »

Balal

The issue I personally take with Flamini is not his lack of pace, but his lack of positional discipline. He runs all over the park, which dilutes his efficaciousness as a ball winner in the DM position. When the Coq moves forward, he instantly moves back. That is his true strength.

Triggs

I certainly did not think he would take the step up. Having developed in lower French leagues most of his career and arriving at our place at age 25-26? and then go on to have a pretty abysmal season compared to what we are used to where he scored 11 goals in 34 games and only converted 13% of his chances. Over 100 attempts on goal was missed, many of them oppurtunities my grandmother would have scored. In no way could I ever see him go from that to where he is now. Such improvement is allmost unpresedented in the… Read more »