Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie – got much in common? They were all great strikers for Arsenal, but they all also netted their first league goals for the Gunners against Southampton. It just so happens that Arsenal’s opponent this weekend are the Saints and with Olivier Giroud yet to get off the mark, could this be the game he scores his first goal for the club.
It has been a difficult start to the season for the Frenchman. His frustration and lack of form was compounded during the recent international break, in which the striker was booed off the pitch by French fans. It was always going to be exceedingly difficult to replace Robin Van Persie, a point emphasised by the fact that Wenger signed two players to make up for the Dutchman’s goal return – Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.
Despite his lack of goals the target man’s link play has been exceptional; indeed this was one of the key factors in Wenger opting to sign him. His ability to hold up possession and bring other players into play is crucial to how Arsenal will look to operate this season; with the Frenchman’s support play allowing the more creative players to flourish. It maybe the case that Giroud’s role is not necessarily to score the goals, but rather to provide the required support and link play for others to exploit gaps in the opposition’s defence.
However, it would be unfair to say that Giroud has provided no goal threat since his summer move to the London club. His movement off the ball has been very good and it has led him to find himself in goal scoring opportunities, something the front man must take heart from. It would be much more worrying for Wenger and all involved if Giroud was not even getting in the right positions.
There is no doubt that Olivier Giroud will eventually start scoring goals. He netted 21 times in Ligue 1 last season, finishing as the league’s top scorer. Furthermore playing in a side like Arsenal will mean that he is never going to be short of chances, especially against weaker opposition. Southampton have conceded eight goals in three games so far, a statistic that bodes well for the Frenchman. What’s more, with so many Arsenal strikers breaking their ducks against the seasiders, the omens certainly point towards Giroud finding the net this weekend.
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This article was first posted on September 14, 2012