Arsenal Must Sign a Striker for Olivier Giroud to Continue Scoring


Olivier Giroud is and always has been one of the most criticized players wearing Arsenal red. His lack of flair and skill moves lead many to accuse him of being capable of only headers and one-touch goals. And yet, the Frenchman’s goal tallies have left little room for question. Call his goals what you want, he puts the ball in the net.

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This season, Olivier Giroud became a revelation. After returning from breaking his foot, the goals were pouring in at a fever pace as he quickly caught up to Alexis Sanchez for most goals on the team. He was on pace to threaten the Golden Boot and it just seemed like everything he touched found the back of the net.

Let’s take a look at Olivier Giroud’s scoring record so far this year (through Since returning from injury on November 22nd, Giroud has netted 16 goals in 28 appearances. That’s a strike rate that’s right about what you’d expect from a striker on a squad like Arsenal. But consider the streak that began after Newcastle United: 16 goals in 21 appearances. That goal return is enough to be considered among the best in the world. But it is just one streak. However, it’s a streak that’s long enough so as not to be ignored, but too short to be declared the norm.

It’s even more difficult to declare it the norm when Olivier Giroud is currently in his longest goalless streak of the season. Giroud hasn’t scored in 270 minutes (across four matches). That’s 104 minutes longer than his previous goalless streak this season. In fact, it’s his longest scoring drought since late 2013 (

So what happened along the road to rupture the best form Olivier Giroud has ever been in?

To the chagrin of Arsenal fans around the world, it may appear that International Break has struck again. While we’re used to the break claiming some of our star players through injuries, this break may well have claimed Olivier Giroud’s impeccable form. Since international break, Giroud has managed only one goal in 360 minutes.

Arsenal has faced a variety of opponents during that five game streak as well, but Giroud just has not been successful in finding the net. One of the problems may be in Olivier Giroud’s chances being limited. In the 270 minute goalless streak, Giroud has only fired off nine shots and only one has been on target.  Compare that to the 270 minutes across three matches that Giroud had directly prior to international break: 13 attempts, 7 on target, 4 goals (

The oddball out of this equation is the game directly following international break against Liverpool. In that game alone, Olivier Giroud put up five shots with four being on target and it was in that match that he scored his most recent goal, over a month ago.

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So can we really blame international break if Giroud scored in the first game following?

Another solution may be that Olivier Giroud has become complacent. Giroud himself stated that what spurred him on was the speculation surrounding other strikers and the claim that he wasn’t world class.

“I hear people say, ‘They have Giroud and [Danny] Welbeck but they need a world-class striker.’ Meaning, us, we’re not world-class forwards. It spurs you on. Recently, there was a buzz around [Porto striker] Jackson Martinez,” he said, as reported by the Telegraph.

Since then, the speculation has fallen off as pundits are finally taking notice of Giroud’s great form, which therein may be the problem. Perhaps Olivier Giroud has heard it so much lately that he now believes he is World Class (which he is). That doesn’t seem like much of a problem until you consider the goalless streak. Arsenal are no longer heavily linked to Martinez, Edinson Cavani or Gonzalo Higuain. It’s an accepted fact that Olivier Giroud can provide just as well as those three.

But the lack of competition, both internally and through speculation, may indeed be the root of Giroud’s problem. One of the main things that keeps Arsenal players, and players in general, on top of their game is the internal competition. David Ospina said in the midst of his fantastic form that, “obviously all three of us want to play but only one of us can get the nod,” (Express). That is the same sort of thing that Olivier Giroud should be saying about the striker position at Arsenal, but who does he have threatening his place? Yaya Sanogo is out on loan and the entire known world will admit that Danny Welbeck is no threat.

It’s not within Olivier Giroud’s personality to willfully become complacent. He wouldn’t say to himself, “I’m secure, I don’t need to play hard.” You can still see the effort he puts forth each and every match. But subconsciously he is reassured that no matter what he does, there is no threat to his position. That extra “umph” may be lacking and he may not even be able to notice it because as long as Arsenal are winning, all is well.

By that token, Arsenal are doing Giroud a disservice by not obtaining a true secondary striker this summer. Competition is needed to keep players on top of their game and Olivier Giroud simply has none.

Next: Should Jack Wilshere change his play style to stay healthy?