Olivier Giroud Continues to Wrack Up Criticism From the Most Unlikely Arsenal Sources


Thierry Henry was the greatest striker in Arsenal history, so when it comes to his judgment of Arsenal strikers, you’d think he has a pretty fair and balanced opinion. But despite that concept, the winger-turned-striker has spoken out about Arsenal’s current striker, Olivier Giroud.

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According to the Guardian, Thierry Henry said that Olivier Giroud “does a job but you can’t win the league [with him].”

I’m not entirely sure why Henry had to say this, let alone why he would think it. Olivier Giroud has been superb on either side of his injury this year. His strike rate was at .96 goals per game and while he hasn’t scored in his previous two games, he’s still performing at an excellent level and he’s scored 14 goals and 3 assists in 17 appearances. He’s one of the main reasons that Arsenal are in the position that they’re in. WhoScored.com has his average rating at just over 7.5, which is just behind Alexis Sanchez.

Olivier Giroud has always been a highly criticized player, sometimes unfairly, sometimes not. He’s been called a wandering wardrobe, a lamp post and many other non-flattering nicknames. Even when he’s performing, Arsenal are still linked to Edinson Cavani, Jackson Martinez and Gonzalo Higuain, all of whom would be replacements.

It’s an established fact that Arsenal need a secondary striker. Giroud needs some semblance of a back up who can potentially inherit the throne but the last thing Arsenal needs is a new number one striker. Maybe Henry thinks Arsenal need a striker more like him, who’s main skill set involves penetrating the defense and technical ability, but we have Alexis Sanchez for that.

Olivier Giroud isn’t that kind of striker. He’s the best aerial threat in the league, as he’s scored more headed goals than anyone in England since his arrival in the Premier League. He’s often been criticized for being a one-trick pony (er, lamp post) for his “solo” ability to tap the ball in on first-touches. But his link-up play has been absolutely superb this year. He isn’t just scoring goals and a liability when not, he’s contributing to the overall Arsenal attack.

Thierry Henry had no business saying these things about Olivier Giroud. He’s a pundit that’s entitled to his own opinion, I get that, and many people share his point of view on Giroud (albeit, many less since Giroud came into his own). But the fact that he’s a former Arsenal player makes it even worse.

Olivier Giroud is always quick to defend himself though. He rightly compared himself to Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero earlier in the year and in response to Thierry Henry, he said that “I am proud of what I’ve done and I’m pleased with that” (via the Guardian).

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It’s nice to see players defend themselves. Mesut Ozil has done it as well and Aaron Ramsey does the same. Olivier Giroud has to do it more than most, however, and he does it with more than just his words. He has improved in every season and he’s only getting better. His late start to greatness sees him at 28 years old but he has plenty of more years to give Arsenal as their star helmsman.

Thierry Henry is wrong in his assessment, and I’m not really sure why he felt the need to come out in one of Arsenal’s best seasons in recent memory to criticize one of the key men that got Arsenal here. Francis Coquelin is in agreement, saying that “Thierry Henry is wrong. Giroud shows his potential every week,” (via Goal.com). “He showed that he has the level to be the Arsenal striker, and we can win titles with him,” he went on to say.

Even better than seeing players stand up for themselves is seeing their team mates stand up for them as well. Thierry Henry may think that he knows Arsenal because at one time, he was Arsenal, but he is absolutely wrong in this case.

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