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.