Posts Tagged ‘Olivier Giroud’


Arsenal update: news on QPR targets from Harry and Arsene

By Stefano on May 3rd, 2013

Arsenal travel to QPR on Saturday and as Arsene Wenger has reiterated today they only have one thing on their minds – winning three points.

Maybe afterwards though Arsene will sit down for post match cuppa with Harry and talk about the future of several QPR players.

The most obvious one is Julio Cesar who seems to have emerged as Arsenal’s number one goalkeeping target.

Wenger is clearly keen and Cesar wants to leave. But Harry is obviously angling for as big a fee as possible. He told Sky Sports

“He’s a top, top goalkeeper. There’s no doubt about that. He’s a Brazil international so for him to play in the Championship next year would be difficult. I can understand that.”

“But he’s a good goalkeeper. It would take a good offer. How this game works is you buy players and those who don’t do well, you’re stuck with them but those who do well, they think they’ll walk away for nothing.

“You’ve got to get what you feel is value for him. He’s going to cost decent money if anyone wants to buy him. He’s a good goalkeeper.”

Wenger might also have word about Loic Remy. Wenger said of him today at his press conference.

“I’ve known him for years,” said Wenger. “He is a very efficient striker.”

He may only cost £8 million too. If Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League then he may end up rivaling Frenchman Olivier Giroud in leading the line next year. If Arsenal do grab a CL spot then he could be teaming up with Stevan Jovetic.

Then there’s a certain Chris Samba too.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall.



Is Olivier Giroud a symbol of all that’s wrong at Arsenal?

By Stefano on April 18th, 2013

Arsenal fan Julius @OneGunn3r on his frustration with The Gunners’ French striker.

I have found no player as difficult to write about as Olivier Giroud. Throughout the season I have tried and failed on many occasions to turn my thoughts on the big Frenchman into something digestible on a platform other than Twitter. For me, there are few players in the English game that are as capable of being a culmination of such decline and failure on a club’s behalf. I am hoping to get across not what Giroud is, but what Giroud represents, and how any failings are not his fault.

What can you say about Giroud? Obviously, Olly finds it hard to defend himself when his tongue always seems to hang out of his mouth in an impermeable sulk, but there is certainly much to groan and grin at when Olivier is around. His inability to turn and shoot is comparable to that of a turtle wielding an assault rifle, yet his first time lay-offs are generally important in linking up play. He brings a physical threat brought in by no-one bar Sagna and, at a push, Diaby, but the amount of important chances he fluffs before he actually finds the target are frustrating enough to cut short thought of the positive elements he brings to Arsenal’s table.

I like Giroud. I think he’s a good player. But that’s it. And that’s not the way it should be. Arsenal’s stingy transfer policy is always going to throw up weaknesses in the squad, defence for example. But never under Wenger have we had such a striking problem, in more ways than one. You could graffiti the list of all time great Arsenal forwards along the Great Wall of China and leave little room for an amalgamation of all of Tottenham’s silverware, yet now we are scrapping for fourth once again when the teams around us have improved.

Everton and possibly Spurs, have made themselves better. Manchester United are definitely improved, no thanks to us. We have stood still by selling Van Persie and replacing him with a variety of players. In real terms, that means regression. It is obvious that Giroud should not be the only real option. Podolski and Walcott are hardly viable long term alternatives, whilst the less said about Gervinho the better. The majority of fans seem to agree that they don’t mind having Giroud, but it is ludicrous to suggest he should be the starter when he is so profligate.

A brief Twitter conversation with @kinghenrythefif led to me believing that if we were to spend £30m on a single player, the priority should be to bring in a striker of genuine class instead of continuing with a completely unspectacular player up front. I’m hardly one to speculate with genuine knowledge, but someone like Jovetic or Lewandowski, players (apparently) with real star quality, would revitalise a yearningly complicated club that has creaked for at least three seasons.

There is perhaps not so much emotional baggage attached to the player himself as to what mighty shoes he has been forced to step into. I generally try to encourage players when at the ground, and Everton was no exception last night. Yet the angst all around was clear, and it was hard not to express anger and frustration at the plethora of chances our number 12 missed. Had he not sold Van Persie, or at least bought a replacement who was better than some vaguely talented French striker, we could be several points better off. And who knows? Maybe we could have beaten Bradford and Blackburn. And Millwall, Aston Villa, Wigan and Swansea, on the way to two Wembley finals and one cup. That’s what a great striker could have done.

Giroud is not disliked by many, but the name itself is a microcosm of Arsenal FC. We cannot fault Oliver Giroud for being Olivier Giroud, but we must not feel unable to criticise an average player that occupies a spot once taken by some the greatest strikers in Premier League history. He is at times an asset, but the lack of striking threat has been, for me, a far greater issue than any other fault. Thanks to our transfer policy, it has been another season of “what if”, regardless of qualifying for a competition we are never going to win at this rate.

I left last night feeling empty about our predicament. Until the void up front has been filled, I will remain so.


Arsene Wenger’s cunning plan for Lukas Podolski

By Stefano on April 15th, 2013

There have been a few rumours about Lukas Podolski recently that he might return to Germany or even try his luck in Serie A. The rumours were further fuelled by the fact that he has only started two games since the end of January.

Arsene Wenger was however quick to praise the German after his excellent cameo appearance against Norwich and insists that Podolski is part of Arsenal’s long term plans.

Wenger said

“He is a quality player and when he comes on you can see that straight away. You don’t get 100 caps by luck. Honestly he has a great attitude. He never moans, he never has a bad phase, he is always positive.”

Interestingly Wenger also revealed that he is working with Podolski, who has been playing mainly as a winger this season, as a main striker.

Wenger said

“I think he can play as a central striker as well. I work a lot with him as a central striker at the moment.”

It is an interesting admission and addresses something has baffled Arsenal fans all season. While Olivier Giroud has had a reasonable first term at The Emirates and has scored goals as well as created assists he is far from the clinical finisher that the Gunners fans are craving.

Conversely Podolski seems utterly clinical when he gets the chance and in spite of his limited appearances has managed to score nine goals this season – about one goal per three games.

The problem for Wenger is that Podolski is not really the type of striker who can hold the ball up and feed other players like Giroud. He also can’t rival Walcott, or many other winger/strikers for pace. His big strength appears to be cutting in from the wing and the unleashing very powerful shots. He is however far from being a traditional winger and quite often tends to get lost in games. His tracking back to help Gibbs and Monreal has also been questionable.

So I don’t think that Arsenal have got the best out of the German this season. Maybe next year we will see him playing more as an out and out striker and that is the role Wenger is grooming him for now.

The key for Wenger then is how do you feed the player? And I wonder if the Arsenal manager has a cunning plan for pairing Podolski with Jovetic? Podolski can yet be an Arsenal legend. But I think much depends on Wenger getting the best out of him.


RVP’s goal drought – now as bad as Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud

By Stefano on March 7th, 2013

The clamouring for Arsenal to sign a striker continues with fans desperate to see someone pull on a Gunners shirt who is clinical, predatory and consistent. Three words that can’t really describe the current incumbent Olivier Giourd.

Giroud has impressed in flashes this season, but for me he doesn’t get in enough goal scoring positions and never ever puts away any half chances. His record of shots to goals converted isn’t bad, but then the number of shots he has is quite low.

He is not a disaster but rather symptomatic of the way that Arsenal are this season – good in patches but lacking consistency.

Giroud then has scored three times in the last ten games he has played for Arsenal, which isn’t the most impressive of records.

Interestingly though there is another Premiership striker who has identical stats and it is not who you might think. Nope not Torres, but one RVP of Man United. The player has grabbed goals against Everton and Spurs in the last two months but it has been pretty slim pickings this year.

It did strike me in the game against Real that RVP was missing something from his game. Chances that you would have expected him to put away this season (and last) went begging. He also had a lot of bad luck – which if Karma does exist means he probably used it all up in the first half of the season.

It is hard to work out if this mid-season dip is something that RVP suffered at Arsenal. This is largely because in all his years at the club the Gunners only really got two full seasons out of the player. Last year, for example, the longest he went without a goal was four games, in fact it was rarely more than two.

In the same period last year (early Jan- early March) for example he scored ten goals in ten games.

Also, earlier in the season Van Persie pretty much kept United’s title challenge afloat

Remember this?

Martin Samuel in the Mail has worked out that had Arsenal kept Robin Van Persie for another season and his goal rate stayed the same then the situation would be reversed. Arsenal would be top of the Premiership and Man United would have been mid-table stragglers.

Martin’s theory runs like this.

United have gone behind to the first goal of the game in 10 Premier League matches and in seven have come back to win. Of those seven, five have featured crucial goals from Van Persie, including the equaliser against Fulham, a hat-trick against Southampton and the winner against Liverpool.

Now consider Arsenal with Van Persie’s 10 league goals this season added to their total. Supplement a single goal from Van Persie to the draws with Sunderland, Stoke City, Manchester City, Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton; add an equaliser to the one-goal defeats by Chelsea, Norwich City and Manchester United. That is a difference of 15 points, or the current spread between Manchester United (top, 36 points) and Arsenal (10th, 21).

Fortunately for Sir Alex, Kagawa, Hernandez and ironically, Rooney have filed the breach recently, but there is clearly a question over the form of the ex-Arsenal man.

Van Persie is clearly Sir Alex’s golden boy at the moment. But if he goes a few more games without finding the net some of that glow might start to recede.




Nicklas Bendtner could be back at Arsenal – could he have a role to play?

By Stefano on March 6th, 2013

There are rumours today that Nicklas Bendtner’s Italian disaster could be over very soon with Juventus apparently keen on sending the striker back to London. The move comes after a drink driving incident which saw the player fined £97,000 and has had his driving license revoked for three years.

Bendtner has also been suspended from the Danish side for six months too. So basically he could be kicking his heels for a while.

The self-professed best striker in the world is clearly supping at last chance saloon. Come the end of the season he will leave Arsenal and at the moment it seems like it won’t be a big club that secures his services.

So maybe, just maybe, there could be a role to play at Arsenal. The Gunners’ bench is pretty skinny on attacking options and a few seasons back Bendtner came on as a sub many times and either scored or helped create goals and chances.

Bendtner needs to play well to keep himself in the shop window. Arsenal need a striker to take the pressure off Giroud and The Dane clearly has plenty of Premiership experience.

Sometimes saying sorry can be very hard – but in this instance it could suit both parties and have a happy ending.

Would you give Nick one last chance?

Pic from Wikipedia


Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud on those David Villa/Klass-Jan Huntelaar rumours

By Stefano on February 6th, 2013

Olivier Giroud, who is back in France as a member of Didier Deschamps’ French squad, has given a very revealing interview to French paper L’Equipe.

He talks among other things about his desire to do well at Arsenal and his overall form, but also about how the possibility of Arsenal signing another striker during the transfer window played on his mind.

In an interview translated here by SportsWitness Giroud said about Arsenal’s winter transfer targets.

“Yes, Huntelaar, but also Villa. The English press speak a lot. The coach is not really conducive to buying in winter. It would be hypocritical to say that I did not think (about it). After, I always thought the coach would give me time, I do not see the grass growing under my feet.”

Although many Arsenal fans were pushing for the club to sign another striker, Giroud’s recent form possibly did enough to persuade Arsene Wenger not to push too hard for his targets.

Giroud says of his recent form

“A bad period for me without finding the way to the opponent’s goal (5 league games without scoring). Then there were discussions on the extension of Walcott who wanted to play at the top.

“Then, facing Newcastle, in the 7-3 victory… I am on fifteen minutes from the end, I scored two goals, missed the hat-trick. But, it’s going better.”

I wonder if the possibility of another striker arriving at The Emirates has pushed him to try even harder.

It will be fascinating to see how the rest of the season works out for the amiable Frenchman. He is playing in the knowledge that Arsene Wenger has a sizable war chest to spend on a striker liked Edinson Cavani if he feels it necessary. Giroud is also going to be constantly be compared with his predecessor Robin Van Persie whose form this season, like last, has been scintillating.

So is Giroud the new Van Persie? Or just a replacement for Bendtner? Only time will tell.


Arsenal update: Does Giroud’s form mean the chase for David Villa is over?

By Stefano on January 27th, 2013

Given the circumstances a 3-2 FA Cup win away at Brighton isn’t too bad a result for Arsenal. Well it would have seemed that way to the fans until they saw Man United blast their way past Fulham.

The most notable thing about the Brighton game though was the excellent form of one Olivier Giroud.

The French striker has now scored six times in eight games and is starting to win over the Arsenal faithful who were concerned by the length of time he took to acclimatise to the Premiership.

Arsene Wenger has been singing his praises too likening him to Arsenal legend Alan Smith. Yesterday’s goals were top drawer too. The first a bending shot from outside the area that gave the keeper no chance. The second, possibly even a better, a beautiful piece of skill to control a long pass from Diaby and then a lethal shot. Dare I say it it was almost Van Persie-esque in its execution.

In spite of his form though most Arsenal fans are still desperate for an A list striker to be added to the squad. Barcelona’s David Villa tops many fans wants lists, but others like Adrian Lopez would be welcome additions.

The only problem for Gunners fans is that Giroud’s run of form has coincided with Wenger’s back tracking on buying players in the window. In spite of rumours about team on their way to the Catalan Capital to secure Villa’s services, Wenger has said that there has been no contact between the two clubs about the player.

It isn’t just Villa. There is the ongoing link with Lopez. The dream move for Cavani – though that has gone predictably quiet – and the mooted move for Aston Villa’s in form Christian Benteke.

As well as Giroud (and Walcott) are playing at the moment if Arsenal are to qualify for the Champions League they do need to replace Van Persie with a world class striker. Giroud is arguably a tanned version, not of Alan Smith, but another Arsenal forward with ball holding attributes Nick Bendnter. The French man will achieve more at The Emirates in long run, but he is not the player who will ensure that Wenger end the season with the fans on his side.

Wenger said at his conference yesterday

Asked if he needs to sign a new striker before the transfer window closes on Thursday night, Wenger said: “Quality-wise, no. But number-wise we are maybe a bit short.

“It will not be easy, though, because you do not find strikers who are good enough to play for us on the street.”

That doesn’t sound like a man ready to break the bank to re-ignite Arsenal’s season.

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