Firstly, I like Giroud, a lot. He’s excellent at what he does and he brings a lot to the team. He’s strong; his hold up play is brilliant and his one-touch combinations to return the ball to teammates are second to none.
We only need to look back to yesterday’s game against Crystal Palace for an example of this. Oxlade-Chamberlain played a delightful little back heel into Giroud, who, with his back towards goal, fended of Danny Gabbidon and played the return ball to Chamberlain who then continued his run and put Arsenal 2-0 up.
On top of that, his aerial ability is top drawer, both offensively and defensively and his movement in the box has been a key factor in a lot of the goals he’s scored.
However, employing Giroud to lead the Arsenal line alone is not enough. For all of Olivier’s positive traits, there are other aspects that striker’s need, which he does not possess.
He doesn’t have much in the way of pace. He’s never going to emulate Thierry Henry and pick the ball up on the half way line, beat the entire Tottenham team and slot the ball into the bottom corner. This isn’t his fault, he is a certain type of striker and he’s doing the job Arsène Wenger hired him for.
In addition, he doesn’t quite possess the killer instinct of players such as Aguëro and Suarez. They have an exceptional ability to turn a dead-end into a goal scoring opportunity, and more often than not, they finish it.
We don’t need a striker to replace Giroud, we need a striker to compliment him. We need a striker who can do what he can’t. I’m not concerned that we aren’t smashing teams four, five or six nil like Manchester City. If we are to go until the end of the season doing an efficient job of winning one or two nil, I’ll be more than happy with that.
There have been games though, where a goal scoring threat seems to have gone missing. In the first half of the game against Palace, and a few weeks ago against Fulham, we haven’t looked like scoring. We’ve had plenty of possession, but no real threat up front. Add to that our recent game against Southampton and I’ve made my point.
Mesut Özil has come under some criticism this season for going missing in games. But, according to ‘EPL Stat Man’ on Twitter, as of the 30th January, he had created fifty-two goal-scoring opportunities, the fourth highest of any player in the league.
Of course, these chances have fallen to players other than Giroud and our midfield has chipped in with some very important goals, but a world-class goal scorer would be firing us convincingly to the title at present.
We can’t be unhappy, we are first in the league at the moment, and will stay there for another week if tonight’s game between Man City and Chelsea goes in our favour.
I can understand why Wenger didn’t splash £50million on a striker in January; it’s a big risk. What I can’t understand is why he didn’t spend that money last summer. With the financial power we now have, we could have added Özil and a top striker to give us something different up front.
I’m elated with the direction our club is now going in, but why only take half measures? Let’s make next summer a big one and cement our place as a force to be reckoned with once again.
Header photo via Ronnie Macdonald- http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronmacphotos/