Tom’s Weekly Ramble: Olivier Giroud Continues to Defy his Critics

Wednesday night was an interesting evening, wasn’t it!? Watching those 90 minutes of football at Anfield sent me on a wild roller coaster of emotions, and that is not an experience I really want to deal with in the near future! Unfortunately, we are Arsenal and it is inevitable that I will be close to suffering a heart attack on many occasions between now and the end of the season!

After the opening ten minutes, I would have been delighted with a point. Even at half-time, having battled back to 2-2, I still probably would have taken a draw. But to get our noses in front only to have the three points snatched away in the dying embers left us all with a gut-wrenching feeling….. Then I saw the other results!

All of a sudden, a point away at Anfield doesn’t look all that bad. Manchester City dropped points in a home game while we didn’t lose away; I know whose shoes I’d rather be in. There is also the matter of Leicester City, who still remain in the fold following their late winner against that lot down the road. Although a draw would have probably suited us better, I can’t help but snigger every time I see them lose!

But what annoyed me most about Wednesday night? The aftermath; the annihilation we received from the media; the mental breakdown that our fans suffered; but most significantly, the continued questions over the ability of Olivier Giroud.

Despite bagging two goals in a big away game, I still came across ‘polls’ asking twitter followers whether the Frenchman was good enough to guide Arsenal to the title. When is this nonsense going to stop and significantly, what more can he do?

Prior to last season, he was criticised for not scoring goals in the big games. He responded tentatively with goals against the two Manchester clubs and Liverpool. This season, he has completely shattered this weakness in his armoury, with big goals against Man City, Bayern Munich and of course his fantastic brace at Liverpool. He is our leading scorer with 18 goals in all competitions and more often than not, has been putting in the performances to match.

Giroud has taken his game to a whole new level this campaign. The period at the beginning of the season where he was playing second fiddle to Theo Walcott appears to have done him the world of good, and it is hardly surprising. Before, he was the linchpin and the man who we could not afford to drop, and often he was played to near exhaustion. Now that we have alternatives, he is not only under pressure for his place in the side, but Arsene Wenger also has the option of giving him a much needed breather from time to time.

He is the third quickest Arsenal player to a half-century of Premier League goals, behind only Thierry Henry and Ian Wright. Irrelevant of any arguments against him, he knows how to find the back of the net.

Steve McManaman said before the Liverpool game that he will always be judged so harshly because of the fantastic strikers that Arsenal have always had. Dennis Bergkamp, Henry, Wright, the list goes on. But Giroud is a completely different entity, and it is time that more experts and fans see him for what he is. He will never have the searing pace of Henry, the poacher’s instinct of Wright or the creative guile of Bergkamp. But he will work harder than most on the pitch, link-up play for others and score more than his fair share of goals.

This will not be the end of the questions; he will always be judged, even if he does fire Arsenal to an elusive 14th league title. But it is time for Arsenal fans to collectively agree that he is a top striker and we are lucky to have him in our side (not to mention is ravishing good looks!).



Gooner Ramble

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