Tag Archives: Olivier Giroud

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Arsenal’s International Break

The Good

Mohamed Elneny

Egypt 2-1 Congo

Mohamed Elneny played the full 90 minutes of Egypt’s World Cup qualifying win over Congo which saw his country to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Egypt to win the World Cup: 150/1

Alex Iwobi

Nigeria 1-0 Zambia

Alex Iwobi came off the bench to score Nigeria’s only goal as the Super Eagles became the first African side to secure qualification for the World Cup. A 1-0 victory.

Nigeria to win the World Cup: 150/1

David Ospina

Colombia 1-2 Paraguay

David Ospina featured as Colombia lost 2-1 to Paraguay, with the visitors scoring twice in the final minutes to snatch the three points.

Peru 1-1 Colombia

David Ospina and Colombia will play at their second successive World Cup after securing a 1-1 draw against Peru.

Columbia to win the World Cup: 33/1

Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud

Bulgaria 0-1 France

Alexandre Lacazette and Olivier Giroud both featured in France’s 1-0 win over Bulgaria. Lacazette started in an exciting front three with Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, Giroud was an 85th-minute.

France 2-1 Belarus

Olivier Giroud became France’s joint-seventh top goalscorer as he helped France to secure their place at next summer’s World Cup with a win over Belarus in Saint-Denis. Giroud charged through to double Les Bleus’ advantage just after the half-hour mark. Giroud played the entirety of the game, with Alexandre Lacazette an unused sub.

France to win the World Cup: 5/1

Nacho Monreal

Spain 3-0 Albania

Nacho Monreal was an unused substitute as Spain hit three past Albania in World Cup qualifying.

Israel 0-1 Spain

Monreal helped Spain keep a clean sheet as the former world champions saw off Israel 1-0 in Jerusalem, courtesy of a late goal from Asier Illaramendi.

Spain to win the World Cup: 7/1

The Bad

Sead Kolasinac

Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-4 Belgium

Sead Kolasinac played the duration of Bosnia’s World Cup qualifying defeat to Belgium, where he was booked.

Estonia 1-2 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sead Kolasinac played the first half in Tallinn as Bosnia-Herzegovina’s World Cup dreams were dashed despite them finishing Group H with a win in Estonia. Greece’s home win over Gibraltar meant it wasn’t enough to reach the play-off round.

Aaron Ramsey

Georgia 0-1 Wales

Aaron Ramsey won his 50th Wales cap and assisted Tom Lawrence’s winner in his country’s 1-0 win at Georgia.

Wales 0-1 Republic of Ireland

Aaron Ramsey was on the losing side as Wales were beaten 1-0 by the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff, ending their World Cup qualification hopes.

The Ugly

Shkodran Mustafi

Germany 5-1 Azerbaijan

Shkodran Mustafi started Germany’s World Cup qualifying win over Azerbaijan but was substituted after just 36 minutes through injury as Germany maintained their 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifying.

Germany to win the World Cup: 5/1

Alexis Sanchez

Chile 2-1 Ecuador

Alexis scored the winning goal in the 86th minute against Ecuador to seal three points for Chile, who are now on the verge of automatic qualification to the World Cup.

Brazil 3-0 Chile

Copa America winners in 2015 and 2016 – but Alexis and Chile won’t be at next summer’s World Cup. The result that saw Chile fail to finish in the top five qualifying spots in South America as a consequence of other results. Alexis played the full 90 minutes.

The Neutral

Granit Xhaka

Switzerland 5-2 Hungary

Granit Xhaka opened the scoring for Switzerland in their World Cup qualifying win over Hungary. The midfielder capitalised on goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi’s slip to slot in from close range are just 18 minutes.

Portugal 2-0 Switzerland

Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland could still make the World Cup in Russia next summer – but his Switzerland team will have to qualify through the European play-off round after losing their decisive qualifier in Portugal.

Switzerland to win the World Cup: 80/1

Robin van Persie V Olivier Giroud

I always find debates about which player is better interesting, as the majority of the time the view point is subjective. It is always hard to compare players from different eras, playing in different teams, and maybe even with different roles.

Is it fair to compare Pele to Lionel Messi, for example? They might have both played football, but the era’s are so far apart, it is almost like a different sport.

Comparing Sir Donald Bradman to Sachin Tendulkar. Both brilliant cricketers, but the game changed so much, with changes in technology, rules and covered pitches. The same is in boxing, and cycling, and any other sport.

Then you have the role players play. Look at Dennis Bergkamp. His goals to games is fairly poor. 1 in 3.53 for The Arsenal. That is poor for a striker. But than Bergkamp was not a proper striker. He was a Number 10 before Number 10’s became en vogue. Should you be comparing Bergkamp to the likes of Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, or do you compare him to someone like Mesut Ozil?

Without a doubt he was a genius player. A unique player. One of our greatest, one of our best, ever. But it is hard to compare him to anyone, as there is no one comparable.

Saying that, a lot of the time you can compare players. Such as goal scorers. Want to know who the better goal scorer is? Look at goals to games. How many did they score?

Of course, even with this, things are more complicated these days. Those that are stats obsessed start to bring up data such as goals per minute, rather than goals per game. They look at chances taken, with the view being someone who scores 1 in a game when he has just 2 chances is better than one who scored 2 goals in a game where he had 10 chances.

The latest stat loved by the BBC is ‘expected goals’.

The factors taken into account when assessing the quality of a chance include:

  • Distance from goal
  • Angle of the shot
  • Did the chance fall at the player’s feet or was it a header?
  • Was it a one on one?
  • What was the assist like? (eg long ball, cross, through ball, pull-back)
  • In what passage of play did it happen? (eg open play, direct free-kick, corner kick)
  • Has the player just beaten an opponent?
  • Is it a rebound?

The idea is that a top player will score goals that are not expected, whilst an average one will only score goals that Harry Redknapp’s mum would score.

A lot of the time, when reviewing a player, people think of style of substance. They remember the skilful players, they remember the goals hit from distance. The amazing shots, the screamers, the goals of the month. But they ignore the players who are efficient, who get the goals without doing much flashy.

The Theo Walcott v Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain debate was always one about style of substance.

In Walcott you had an ugly player. A frustrating player. Meanwhile Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was stylish. He purred with class, going past players without them being their, cross field pings passes. You could make a good highlights reel with Oxlade-Chamberlain , not so much Walcott.

But then Walcott scored 19 goals last season, Oxlade-Chamberlain just 6. And whilst Walcott averages a goal every 3.62 games, Oxlade-Chamberlain averages 1 in 9.9.

I always remember debates with Spurs fans. They would claim that Andros Townsend is better than Theo Walcott. They remember him constantly cutting inside and sticking one in the top corner. But it was not constantly. There mind was playing tricks on them.

Townsend has just 12 Premier League goals to his name. Walcott has 65.

Another one is Mesut Ozil. Our friends over at GunnersTown wrote this interesting piece. The premise was the Ozil ,or his eventual replacement, neds to be a midfielder who scores more rather than passes well. That he needs to be more like Christian Erickson. More like Santi Cazorla.

Christian Eriksen – 1 / 4.24

Santi Cazorla – 1 / 5.16

Mesut Ozil – 1 / 5.26

There is not too much in the statistics. Ericksen does outscore Ozil, but not by much, over a 38 game season, it equates to about 1 goal more. And Ozil and Santi Cazorla have a similar record.

The difference is both Erickson and Cazorla stick them in the top corner from 30 yards out. Ozil does not. You forget when Ozil scores goals. Cazorla and Ericksen’s become goal of the month nominees.

This all leads to the comparison between Olivier Giroud and Robin van Persie.

Both are very different in the way they play, but both have been first choice striker at Arsenal, Giroud followed on from van Persie.

Now most Arsenal fans would put van Persie down as the better player. The better goal scorer. The more influential player. They will say he did more at Arsenal, achieved more at Arsenal, than Olivier Grioud. The lamppost.

But then Giroud scored his 100th goal for Arsenal on Thursday night. His 100th goal coming for Arsenal from 1 less game than Robin van Persie.

There are of course some caveats.

van Persie joined Arsenal younger, often played behind the striker or out wide in his early games. He was not the complete player, the senior professional ,that Olivier Giroud was when he joined.

On the other side of the coin, of his 237 appearances for Arsenal, 75 came from the bench. That is 32% of his appearances. Meanwhile, throughout his entire career, just 23% of van Persie’s appearances came from the bench.

Giroud: 100 goals in 237 games

van Persie: 100 goals in 236 games

It is a statistic that would have surprised a lot of fans. But it is due to van Persie have the style. His goals were memorable. They were brilliant. Whilst Giroud just does those flicky goals to the inside of the near post goals. But they both score.

van Persie kicked on after his first 100 goals. He ended up with 132 goals in 278 games, lowering his overall games per goal to 1 in 2.1. His final 32 goals for the club coming in just 42 games, before leaving for Man U.

It does not matter what goals you score, it matters what you win a pal of mine said when the Giroud v van Persie debate came up in a Whatsapp debate. He was trying to say that it did not matter that Giroud had scored his 100 goals quicker, as what really matter is what they won.

In 5 years at Arsenal, Olivier Giroud has won 3 FA Cups. In 8 years at Arsenal, Robin van Persie won a single FA Cup, of which he came on in the 86th minute.

So it brings me to a conclusion.

Robin van Persie or Olivier Giroud?


BATE victory, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere

BATE Borisov result

Like the wins against Cologne and Doncaster, not much can be read into them.

Another run out for Jack Wilshere (more latter) and Reiss Nelson looked good (let’s not overhype – Jermaine Jenas compared him to Neymar).

The important things is we win. And our Europa League journey is set to continue.

Olivier Giroud

He has never been everyone’s cup of tea, but this weekend Olivier Giroud scored his 100th Arsenal goal.

He joined the club in 2012, having been Ligue 1 top scorer as Montpellier lifted the French title.

A big, tall strong man, he certainly was not the nippy Thierry Henry, skilful Emmanuel Adebayor, or deadly Robin van Persie that fans had been used to.

But what  Giroud did have are a very particular set of skills. Skills he had acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for defences. 

It was a set of skills that many fans did not appreciate. And still do not appreciate. But his stats speak for themselves. In his 6th year at the club, he has hit 100 goals. Not bad for a player who has never been guaranteed a first team spot. A man who most fans call deadwood. A lamppost, even. A player who fans continually deride.

That 100 goals has come in 237 games. So how does he stack up against other Arsenal greats?

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere had another good game following on from his performance against Doncaster. But fans calling for him to start against Brighton are premature.

Wilshere is a brilliant player. Our best central midfielder when fit. But he has had a horrendous time with injuries, and needs to be protected.

2 games in 4 days will be a recipe for disaster. It makes him an injury waiting to happen.

Let me put it another way, he plays against Brighton, gets injured, what will you all be saying.

“Why has Wenger played him twice in 4 days. He is being over played again.”

With an international break coming up, Wilshere will get some more R&R. After the break we have Watford. Wilshere should be on the bench.

After Watford, we face 3 weeks of midweek and weekend football. It is the midweek games which Wilshere should play.

Belgrade, Norwich, Belgrade. Play him in those games. Let him continue his rehabilitation.

If you are calling for him to play on Sunday, check your tweets from days past. Have you moaned at home being over played? If yes, you are doing exactly the opposite. Demanding he be overplayed.


Hope everyone has got back safely