Tag Archives: Olivier Giroud

Arsenal fans need to stop with the Giroud revisionism – his exit led to Aubameyang’s arrival

Every time Olivier Giroud scored a goal for Chelsea, Arsenal Twitter goes into a meltdown in what is becoming one of the biggest re-writes of an Arsenal players history.

Giroud was never a bad player for Arsenal.

He was limited, he was never a great goal scorer, he relied on others to create and he would have long spells without scoring. But he was never a poor player.

Giroud has shown for both Arsenal and France, and to a lesser extent for Chelsea, that a side needs to get the right players around him to get the best out of him.

At Arsenal that was Alexis Sanchez. For France is was Antoine Griezmann and Chelsea it was Eden Hazard.

Giroud is at his best when he is not expected to be the man to get the goals.

His highest league tally for Arsenal was 16. He has just 17 league goals in 71 league games for Chelsea.

When France won the World Cup in 2018, Giroud failed to score a single goal.

But all this was OK as long as Sanchez, Hazard or Griezmann were contributing from out wide.

Giroud is one of the games greatest hold up players in modern times.

How often did we see Sanchez pop a short pass into him, Giroud ply a one touch lay-off and Sanchez goes through and scored?

Arsenal were at the dangerous best when we had Sanchez on the left, Theo Walcott on the right and Aaron Ramsey in behind Giroud.

All 3 were more than happy playing the ball into the big Frenchman, continuing their run and getting the ball back in a goal scoring position.

As for goals, Giroud was a master at getting i infront of his man for a new post knock in.

Giroud’s fault came when fans demanded more from him. When Sanchez or Hazard wasn’t scoring (and left).

Without a world class wide forward, Giroud was simply not as dangerous.

He is not the type of player that takes a game by the scruff of its next; wins it through his own individual brilliance.

And this led to frustrating criticism from the stands when goals began to dry up from out wide.

When Arsenal Giroud, no one was upset.

Some fans have attempted to revise history by claiming Giroud was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette. He wasn’t.

Lacazette was already at the club when Giroud left us in January 2018.

It was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that was his replacement.

The story goes Arsenal wanted Aubameyang, Dortmund wanted Michy Batshuayi and Chelsea just wanted a striker.

So the deal was in motion, with Giroud joining Chelsea, Batshuayi to Germany and Arsenal getting their man in Aubameyang.

If anyone does not think Arsenal got the best deal then they are deluded or agenda driven.

Since joining Arsenal, Aubameyang has 62 Premier League goals. Remember that Giroud figure from earlier? 17.

It was Aubameyang’s brilliance in the semi final, and repeated in the final, that saw Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2020. Giroud could not have scored the goals Auba did.

Imagine the outcry if we had kept Giroud instead of signing Auba; and the Gabonese striker joined Chelsea?

We would all be fuming.

Lacazette has come in for criticism for his goal droughts during his stay at Arsenal. But he has 45 Premier League goals to his name. Giroud in the same time (for Arsenal and Chelsea) has just 21.

Now a case could be made that Giroud would actually suit Arsenal now.

With Aubameyang on one side and Bukayo Saka or Nicholas Pepe on the other, Arsenal could do with someone like Giroud for them to play off.

Someone that they could play the ball into knowing they’d get it straight back. Someone who Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin could aim for with a cross when they hit the touchline.

But for Giroud to ply with Aubameyang, you’d need to ignore that fact that we had to sell Giroud to sign Aubameyang.

And with Lacazette already at the club, it would make no sense to have the 3 of them – Giroud, Lacazette and Aubameyang.

Now if it happened the other way – with Arsenal signing Auba in the summer and it being Lacazette involved into a January 3-way; I would kind of understand the debate. But it didn’t happen that way.

So really the debate is simple for Arsenal fans:

Arsenal were not wrong selling Giroud to Chelsea. Giroud has not improved since joining Chelsea. He is the same old player that will score 8 in 10 and then 1 in the next XI.

Let’s stop the revisionism over Giroud. Let’s stop pretending that Aubameyang is not 10 times the goal scorer.

Keenos

Unai Emery to “get the band back together”

Good morning and Happy New Year to you all.

Not only are we in a New Year; but it is also the opening day of the January transfer window, and clubs can negotiate free transfer deals with players abroad.

So who could Arsenal look to sign?

Starting in La Liga, Santi Cazorla‘s one year deal with Villarreal is set to come to an end. Pairing him with Lucas Torreira would be brilliant in 5-a-side if we could find another couple of midgets to join them.

The Secret Billionaire Mathieu Flamini will also see his one year deal with Getafe come to an end. It will be the 6th time in his career the Frenchman has moved clubs. His career combined transfer fees is exactly ZERO.

Arsenal could reinforce their defence for free in the summer if they sign Barcelona centre back Thomas Vermaelen. Laurent Koscielny and Vernaeken at the back together. The Achilles Brothers.

We then have Johann Djourou. The Swiss centre back will be 32 in January. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Fellow Swiss defender’s Phillippe Senderos is curreenlty a free agent. His contract with MLS side Houston Dynamo expired last night.

There is only one man who deserves to partner Flamini in the middle of the park. His former partner in crime Cesc Fabregas. Also Unai Emery should give the prodigal son the captains armband.

Making it a midfield trio is Lassana Diarra. The midfielder somehow found his way at PSG; despite causing trouble everywhere he went. Having signed him a year ago, I am sure Emery will be delighted to link up with him once more.

One player available already is Alex Hleb. His contract expired on New Year’s Eve. Although he is likely to sign an extension with BATE Borisov before facing Arsenal in the Europa League.

Every team needs a top striker. Back a year ago Chelsea handed Olivier Giroud an 18-month deal. Could the French World Cup winner be set for an Arsenal return?

And sometimes there are two top strikers available – jailbird Nicklas Bendtner‘s contract with Rosenborg expired yesterday meaning he is available on a free TODAY.

Sadly, to complete the XI we need a goal keeper, and despite extensive scouting, it seems non are available on a free. As David Ospina is currently not playing for the club, we will take an advantage of a loophole known as the Ospina Rule and he will be between the sticks.

What an XI we could have…

Lack of width sees Arsenal West Ham stalemate

Well that was rather dull.

When the West Ham fans voted Adrian as man of the Match, I had to chuckle – he only had 3 saves to make. And that summed up the match. A dull 0-0 in the cold where now one came out with any credit.

The response by West Ham fans at the final whistle was odd. They celebrated a 0-0 draw at home against a London rival which left them 2nd bottom in the league like it was actually a good result for them. The reality is the result was poor for both teams.

The change of formation from Arsenal was a good move. In yesterday mornings blog, I spoke about how we needed to change to 4 at the back, with my preference being the Christmas tree formation. My issues were granted as Arsenal lined up 4321. But it did not work.

The first surprise was that Nacho Monreal was at centreback. Whilst he has played very well in a back 3, arguably our player of the season so far, playing in a 2 is very different. And his lack of height is a cause of concern.

It is a surprise that Andy Carroll saw no game time.

Crosses from the West Ham left to the far post would have put Nacho Monreal under immense pressure. The fact that he never came on shows that they were happy with the bore draw. They were not interested in attacking.

With Monreal at centre back and Sead Kolasinac dropped /rested to the bench, in came Ainsley Maitland-Niles – a 20 year old right footed winger who has found himself at left wing back in the cup squad.

Like in 3521, 4321 relies on your full backs to give you the width. I wondered at the time if playing a right footed full back on the wrong side would restrict our ability to get the ball in, and it did.

Maitland-Niles had a good game. One of the only players who could come out of it with his head held high. He defended well against a quick and strong Michail Antonio, and did offer something going forward. The only downside was that a couple if attacks did lose momentum as he tried to get the ball back on his right foot. But this was not his fault.

Width was a massive problem for Arsenal. We had none.

West Ham lined up with 3 at the back, then with wing backs. This often ended up with them having 5 at the back, dropping in narrow to the width of the box. Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang barely crossed their own half way line, sitting close in front of their defence.

This meant that on the edge of the box, Arsenal were boxed in. It was claustrophobic. There was not much space to work on the inside as West Ham had a solid 5 camped on the edge of the box.

This meant that there was plenty of space outside to put balls in, but Arsenal failed to utilise this.

When there was space out wide, Arsenal were too slow to react to it, the first thought was to come inside every time. By the time players had got their heads up and seen the space, West Ham has closed it down.

When the ball did get out wide, it was the full backs who were supposed to be providing the width. Hector Bellerin was reluctant to get forward (hw put in 4 cross compared with Maitlan-Niles 9) and when he did his crossing was poor, whilst Maitland-Niles had the aforementioned problem of being unable to whip in an early ball.

Olivier Giroud is a brilliant player, but he relies on service from out wide. He is not going to be on the edge of the box, and spin off a defender to slot one in. He wants the ball coming from wide where he can then bully defenders to put the ball in the back of the net.

If Arsenal are not getting the ball outwide, Giroud is then starved of that service, and becomes the lamppost that many people cruelly label him. Yesterday was one of those occasions where all that was happening was the ball was going into him, hitting him, and going straight to a West Ham player.

There is not point playing Giroud if you do not have the wide men to support him.

Another problem was Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

In the Christmas tree formation, they were playing narrow – in the same way they have done when we play 3 at the back.

They play on opposite sides to their foot. Ozil on the right, Sanchez on the left.

This means that when they did find themselves in the wide positions, both of their first thoughts was to cut back in onto their stronger foot and drive into the middle.

The congested middle where West Ham had 7 players.

Due to this, where were often times when on the edge of the box, you had West Ham’s defensive 7, plus Giroud, Sanchez, Ozil, Wilshere and Iwobi. There was simply no space to operate.

Playing Sanchez and Ozil on their opposite sides was clearly not working.

Arsene Wenger relies on his players own intelligence and game management to make slight tactical changes during a game. This group of players do not seem to be able to do that. He should have noticed that Ozil and Sanchez were adding to the congestion in the middle and swapped them over.

They should have at least tried it. 10 minutes of Ozil on the left, Sanchez on the right, help out the full backs and get some good crosses into the box for Giroud. But the side did not change it, they did not change anything. And it contributed to a poor performance.

When Wenger did try and change things, his substitutions also did not work.

Danny Welbeck came on for the ineffective Alex Iwobi (where Iwobi fits in to Arsenal’s future has to be questioned). He did hug the right hand side a bit more, but as a striker, his first thought is still to get the ball and drive inside towards goal, not put a cross in.

In Welbeck’s 20 minute cameo, he did not attempt a single cross.

Taking off Sanchez was also a bold move, but a correct one. Sanchez had once again had a poor game.

Alexandre Lacazette came on. The £50m man. He then gets shoved out on the left wing.

What is the point of having a clinical striker with a record like Lacazette and then playing him left wing? I do not think he had a single touch in West Ham’s box.

In fact, looking at the statistics, Lacazette had ZERO SHOTS and put in ZERO CROSSES. Hre contributed nothing.

This was not his fault, however, as he was put on but outwide. A better substitution would have perhaps been Kolasinac who might have at least put in a couple of dangerous crosses. And then take Ozil off for Lacazette and go 442, with the two French strikers being able to feed off each other.

West Ham showed that teams know how to play against us. The fact that we are unable to mix it up. There were several times last night where we did get the ball 2 on 2 or 3 on 3, and as soon as we got into the final 3rd, those players cut inside and lost any space they had. Within seconds West Ham were all back behind the ball and we passed it around with out a clue of what to do with it.

Too many players stood around, flat footed.

The only positives last night was Jack Wilshere had a decent game, and that we had 3 local lads on the pitch.

On to the next one.

Keenos