Olivier Giroud rarely gets the credit he deserves. Does he have the pace of Theo Walcott? No. Is he as creative as Mesut Ozil? Not really. As influential as Alexis Sanchez? Debatable.
But there’s plenty the Frenchman brings to the table that the aforementioned trio can’t.
For example, Walcott recently netted his 100th goal for the Gunners, in a 2-0 win away at Sutton United in the Emirates FA Cup. That’s after almost 11 full seasons with the first-team.
Giroud is six goals away from that milestone, despite signing just five years ago.
‘Assist King’ Ozil has set his teammates up on 52 occasions since arriving in north London. But that’s only 12 more than Giroud has managed.
And as for his influence on games, take his 38 Premier League goals in the last three seasons away and Arsenal would be 21 points worse off. Take Sanchez’s 47 top-flight strikes away and they’d be 28 points worse off. That means both forwards are earning their side roughly 0.5 points per goal (0.59 points for Sanchez, 0.55 points for Giroud). There really isn’t much in it.
Oh, and this season alone, the 30-year-old is averaging a goal every 94.5 minutes in the league, while Sanchez’s ratio is one every 126 minutes.
Just because he’s not a traditional Arsenal player doesn’t mean he’s not good enough to be an Arsenal player.
After all, we’re talking about a man who has just made it into France’s top 10 all-time leading goalscorers list, ahead of the likes of Eric Cantona, Franck Ribery and Nicolas Anelka.
And here’s where Arsenal are lucky – the Frenchman is seemingly happy with his position at the Emirates.
You’d expect a frontman as prolific as Giroud to be banging on Arsene Wenger’s office door and asking for a starting place week-in, week-out. But as far as we’re aware, that’s not the case.
He knows his role at Arsenal. He knows his manager thinks he’s reliable – that’s why he’s been brought on as a sub in 16 matches in all competitions this season.
And when you look at some of the Gunners’ forwards struggling for game-time (Lucas Perez and Danny Welbeck to name but two), it’s a credit to the big man that he’s second only to Sanchez.
He’s six goals away from a century of Arsenal goals. Amazingly, our traders have made him as long as 7/4 to reach that figure by the end of the season.
That gives Giroud potentially 13 games to do it. Whether he’s on the field from the start or brought on for the last five minutes – the former Montpellier man will get chances.
And as we’ve seen so often over the years, he’s more than capable of taking them.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing