Too early for The Olivier Awards?
Interesting player Giroud. I'm not yet sure what to make of him. Seemingly a player with neither the oft sublime finesse of a van Persie or the athleticism of a Henry but showing some rather different characteristics that could still prove very effective. He has a rather upright running style which gives the impression that his legs are little too short for his body but he gets across the ground well enough.
Wenger signed Giroud as a 'target man' type of forward which is rather different from the way he had utilised either RvP or Henry. A few months back he said of the player 'Giroud is good when he plays completely on the offside line. Sometimes when he doesn't get the ball enough he wants to come deep. That is not his game. When he is a target man and uses his link-up play, he is fantastic because he can win in the air, he can score with his feet and can be a complete striker.'
I tend to think of a target man as simply the focus for long ball tactics but Giroud seems to be showing a little more subtlety than that though his height and heading ability does give that option. What he's also showing is a determination to attack the ball in the box with a vigour I haven't seen for a while. It's a role I imagine Wenger anticipated Chamakh might have fulfilled but Giroud's willingness to throw himself at almost anything to get any part of a foot or head on the ball maybe displays either greater self confidence or just greater ambition. His brace against West Ham, the first the result of a good run, quick thinking and a smart volley attacking a corner at the near post, has brought his tally for the season so far to 11 goals though he hasn't been an automatic pick. There's a bit more to his game as his 9 assists demonstrate, a couple of which came about from a delightful 'Sand Wedge' type chipped pass, side on or with his back to goal, which also enabled Podolski to assist in Cazorla's goal against the Hammers. The same chipped pass brought thunderous scoring volleys from Gibbs and Podolski in earlier games.
Wenger admitted recently that he had also considered Demba Ba along with Giroud as very similar players but opted for the Montpelier forward. As he would have known about the £7m release clause in Ba's contract that Chelsea took advantage of, he must have seen more value in Olivier when paying a reported £10m for him. A decision that also belies the complaint from some supporters that Wenger always goes for the cheaper option.
It's still not quite clear how Wenger sees the forward line deployed most successfully. Poldolski played the first game of the season as the central striker and both Gervinho and Walcott have been used there. I suspect that it will still take a while for the preferred format to be determined but Giroud is staking a good claim to play the lead role. He believes he's the man for the job telling Arsenal Player 'It is good thing to reach this number but I want to keep going and score more goals'
'I know my team-mates very well, so I feel really good in games. I have scored 11 goals and I have nine assists but I know I can do more.'
Have we got a song for him yet or is it too early for that?
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