Olivier Giroud Needs to Learn to be Ruthless


I’m a big fan of Olivier Giroud. I think that he has all the necessary skills to be all that Arsenal need to win the Premier League. I don’t think I’m in the majority with that assertion, but that’s okay. That being said, I do think that Arsenal need some striker competition. However, with that, you run the risk of decimating Giroud’s confidence. Which leads to my point: Olivier Giroud has to learn to be a ruthless striker. He can’t keep letting bad games or bad punditry upset his play.

Olivier Giroud decided to speak, yet again, about Thierry Henry being a bad pundit. At first, he made a quirky little remark that Henry was dull and had to make a bomb of a comment. Now, he had this to say (via the Mirror):

"“Of course, it hurts your pride – it brings into question the work you do every day. It irritates you, and I was a little annoyed, but I quickly put it behind me. I talked to the coach (Wenger) and the most important thing is to have the support of the people around you, who have faith in you, the staff, my team-mates.”"

Olivier Giroud can’t let something like this hurt his pride. Guys like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo don’t let little criticisms from talking heads hurt their pride. When you let it hurt your pride, you second guess yourself and then when it comes game time, you second guess yourself even more and then you can’t score. Giroud says he put it behind him, but if he keeps bringing it up, did he really put it behind him?

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It all comes full circle to his performance on the field. When Olivier Giroud was doing well, no one said anything and the success continued. When he falters even in the slightest, pundits do their usual thing and ask questions. When he’s letting their questions compile in his head and mount on top of the fact that he’s faltering in the slightest, he spirals out of control and goes months without scoring. It’s a vicious circle that world-class strikers don’t need to subject themselves too.

Olivier Giroud has admitted to having a confidence problem and that’s perfectly fine. He’s human. Human’s have pesky things called emotions that can get in the way of everything. Obviously it’s not just a matter of blocking them out because it is not always that easy. But Olivier Giroud has to realize that the only thing holding him back from being one of the best strikers in the world is himself.

He has the best aerial ability of anyone in the Premier League. His hold up play is some of the best in the world and his flick-on passing is incredibly underrated. He has all the prerequisites to be an invaluable asset to any squad. But when you let words and dips in form get in the way, you have more than just physical obstacles like defenders and goalies to overcome. Now you have mental obstacles and mental obstacles can be tougher to overcome than Manuel Neuer alongside Gianluigi Buffon in the same goal.

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Next year is a big year for Olivier Giroud. He has all the faith of those that matter. When fickle fans and puny pundits voice their squeaky opinions, he needs to just block it out. Maybe he shouldn’t even listen at all. It’s not your usual task as a manager, but Arsene Wenger needs to build up Olivier Giroud at every possible opportunity. These mental hurdles need to be destroyed.

One possible way to do that is to make him fight for the starting striker position. Following the FA Cup benching, Giroud revealed what Arsene Wenger had said to him to justify his decision (via 90min.com):

"“There was some disappointment, but the coach came to see me before the game and told me something that made me happy: ‘I’m not forgetting what you’ve done for the team’. I cut him off immediately and said ‘What matters is that we win this cup.’ It’s the truth. Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick the game before against West Brom and I’m not a fool, I knew it could happen. I just had to come in and give 200% for the team and it’s true that my goal made me happy.”"

This is probably the first time in recent memory that Olivier Giroud has had his spot compromised by someone within the team. Danny Welbeck was supposed to challenge him, but that didn’t exactly work out.

It is nice to see that Arsene Wenger clearly knows how delicate the situation is, but at the same time, this sort of thing should encourage Olivier Giroud to do more. Now he has an entire summer to live within his own thoughts and figure out what next year has in store. After his disappointing affair against Belgium, it’s not off to a good start.

Next: Can Arsenal turn FA Cup Success into EPL Success?

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