Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud
Image from: paininthearsenal.com

Olivier Giroud is a player who polarises opinion, with a split between those who think he is utterly useless and those who think he is a great striker. As ever, the truth is a bit of both and somewhere in the middle of those opposing views.

On the negative side, he lacks pace and acceleration, so he is unable to force defences to drop deep, allowing opponents to play a high line against him, lessening the space in midfield for his team. While he is tall, his heading ability is not the best and his leap is also short of putting him in the top bracket as an aerial presence.

The other main weak link that stands out regarding him is his finishing, it is a mile short of that of a clinical striker:

As that 'amazing goals' clips compilation highlights, with nearly 2 minutes and a number of clips at the beginning of the video, he is prone to missing the target with regularity. The fact that a quarter of the 8 minute clip shows him missing the target is a worry, these clips usually pick out a player's best bits.

On the other hand, what Giroud does supply is work rate, he does work hard for the team, always moving and looking to pull into gaps in opposing defences. His greatest strength though is his ability to link the play:

He has excellent vision and a very good range of passing, plus he can hold up the ball well, holding off defenders then playing midfield runners in, which has served Arsenal particularly well in recent years. Giroud is also very skilful, with a very good touch and a lovely left foot which possesses a powerful strike.

If only he was a bit more clinical, or had more pace, his abilities would see him in the top bracket of world strikers. Sadly, as is, his inability to stretch defences and create space for the midfield and his tendency to miss far too many chances leaves him as little more than a very good striker, but a little short of the quality required to win titles.

Giroud is excellent at dropping off, taking control of the ball, holding off the defender, then playing in a runner, like the old fashioned second striker role. At the moment though, playing in teams that play just one up top, he is unable to use his ability to its best, as he needs someone creating space to play in.

Give him a partner like Walcott or Sanchez, who are running in behind, creating space for the team and providing passing options, I believe you would see a completely different and far better Olivier Giroud. Though it would be partially about patching over his weaknesses, it would allow teams to get more from his strengths.

As a lone striker, leading the line, his lack of pace and his lack of finishing prowess are just not good enough. Unless Arsenal intend to go to playing a pair up front, which is unlikely due to the gaps it leaves in midfield, in my opinion they do need to look for an improved first choice.

As a back up striker, or as part of a duo, I do think he would be more than good enough, but he just fails to provide the goal threat of a top echelon forward.