Arsenal: Olivier Giroud still has huge role with first team

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal attempts to control the ball during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 30, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal attempts to control the ball during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 30, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) /

Olivier Giroud can still have play sizable role to play at Arsenal for the season ahead, offering an efficient aerial alternative to Alexandre Lacazette.

Olivier Giroud has found his future at Arsenal under much speculation following the club-record signing of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon. The France international has been heavily linked with a variety of clubs both within the Premier League, Ligue 1 and German giants Borussia Dortmund.

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Giroud on his Arsenal Future

Following Arsenal’s third kit launch ahead of their pre-season tour of Australia and China, Giroud spoke about his future in North London.

Speaking to Sky Sports, in Sydney, when questioned on his future at the club, Giroud responded:

"“I honestly don’t know. At the moment, I’m still an Arsenal player so I’ll try to be professional like always and prepare well for next season. Obviously, there will be more competition, even more than last year, but it’s always nice for a striker to feel the pressure and I always deal with it. I’ve been through some difficulties these last years but always succeeded to bounce back, but this one I don’t know. I don’t know about my future so I can’t tell you more. I’m focused on my pre-season.”"

Does he still have a place at Arsenal?

Giroud is not wrong in what he is saying. Starting just eleven Premier League games last season, the 30-year-old will now face further competition for a spot in the team with Lacazette now in a Gunners’ shirt.

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The Frenchman can, however, still have a sizeable role to play at Arsenal for the season ahead. Despite not having scored over 16 goals in a Premier League season since his arrival at the Emirates in 2012, Giroud has still contributed over ten goals per season.

This is not a significant amount for a first-team conventional striker, but with Lacazette now set to assume that role, Giroud can still provide a reasonable amount of goals as the second-string striker. Having started just eleven games last season, his contribution of 12 goals saw him register a goal during every 100 minutes of play.

Giroud’s struggle to prove himself to be a consistent goalscorer at Arsenal can often lead back to Arsenal’s play style. Arsenal are a side renowned for their counter-attacking football and pace when moving forward, pace that Giroud essentially misses.

The 30-year-old is often a target man, using both his strength and height to his advantage for the most part. This was showcased best at the 2016 European Championships as France fought from a goal down to beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1.

Giroud proved a key factor in both goals. Pulling the defence away with a smart run in the box in the build-up to the first goal, whilst battling well in the air to knock the ball down to Atletico Madrid striker, Antoine Griezmann, for the second. France appear to make more of an effort in the utilisation of Giroud. With the Gunner being the first-choice striker ahead of the likes of Lacazette and Benzema.

Giroud can provide an Alternative attacking option

Arsenal’s crossing abilities over previous years have been nothing short of poor, which could be a possible reason behind Giroud’s failure to register above 20 Premier League goals in a single season, with 36 percent of his goals coming from headers in the Premier League since he joined the Gunners. Whilst he scored exactly half of his goals through headers last season.

Lacazette’s arrival should provide Arsenal with a more suited play style with the 26-year-old bringing both pace, strength and skill to the table to take on the opposition defence. This should perfectly complement what Mesut Ozil offers behind him in the way of precision passing and through balls, in a more direct attacking approach.

However, against some sides, this may not be the way in which Arsenal can breakthrough, with Giroud offering the aerial alternative if required. However, on a wage of £100,000 a week, he would prove to be a reasonably expensive backup player, especially with Walcott already finding himself regularly on the bench on a wage that exceeds Giroud’s.

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To combat this, Arsenal could potentially play two strikers, pairing Lacazette and Giroud together to offer both alternatives when playing. However, this would potentially leave no room for Alexis Sanchez (providing he is still at the club next season).