Why Giroud should do his talking on the pitch for Arsenal

Arsenal’s summer signing Olivier Giroud is now flying in his first season in the Premier League.

However, his recent assertions that his start to his Arsenal career is in any way a reflection that he can genuinely replace Robin van Persie for the Gunners are nothing more than wishful thinking.

"I don't know a striker who isn't interested in his statistics. Since the start of the season I've got 14 goals and 11 assists," said the Frenchman.

After a sluggish start, the Frenchman has come good leading the line well for Arsene Wenger’s side. His movement and positioning have been encouraging and his ability to give Arsenal a real aerial threat going forwards is something he can feel pleased with.

He continued,

"For a first season it's better than Van Persie when he started, even though he was younger. When I arrived at Arsenal, there were some worries. But they were quickly sorted and now the Arsenal players understand if they play off me they can score."

Now, I understand that he’s not actually comparing himself technically to Arsenal’s departed Dutchman and, despite headlines that read ‘Giroud: I’m better than RVP’ that’s not actually what he said. I get that.

But I’m afraid I still don’t share his optimism that he can kick on and fill the Dutchman’s boots at the Emirates. There is no doubt that he is strong and dominant in the box, his work-rate and tactical understanding is sharp and his finishing is improving with confidence.

However, he is and I suspect never will possess the sheer quality of van Persie’s left-foot. Even at 21 when Van Persie arrived at Arsenal he had the ability to turn defenders inside out with his footwork and find the net from anywhere inside the penalty area. His finishing now, at 29 for both Arsenal last season and Manchester United this term has been nothing short of exquisite.

Giroud doesn’t have that up his sleeve and at 26 years of age it’s not something he’s going to suddenly acquire.

He certainly is a threat in the box but he’s a complete different kind of forward – a much more tradition number 9 and whilst I understand he wasn’t actually comparing himself to van Persie, he should be advised to let commentators and pundits do the talking – he’s only going to have it thrown back in his face.

Lukas Podolski is the closest forward Arsenal have within their ranks to van Persie – the German’s finishing is far superior to his French counterpart’s and in fact the two of them together have done a very good job of replacing Robin van Persie – or his goals at least.

Between the two of them they’ve now scored 26 goals in all competitions, beating van Persie’s 22 for United. Whilst Giroud has started reasonably well in his first season at Arsenal, he hasn’t done it alone and I fear he may create a rod for his own back if he keeps talking off the field about Robin van Persie.

He should take the higher ground, keep his head down, work hard, play well, and do his talking on the pitch. That’s something Robin van Persie could teach him a thing or two about.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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