Will Olivier Giroud be Arsenal's starting striker on August 17?

Olivier Giroud is doing his chances of leading the Arsenal attack next season no harm at all.

Giroud bagged a hat-trick in Arsenal’s friendly win against Vietnam, which showed he’s in fine goalscoring tough and that his fitness is definitely improving as the new season closes in.

Arsenal have been linked with big name strikers this summer, such as Gonzalo Higuain and Wayne Rooney, who if signed, have the potential to keep Giroud confined to the subs bench so it’s very important that he maintains his current form.

Giroud’s first season in English football was somewhat of a mixed bag as he scored 11 goals from 24 starts and ten appearances off the bench in the Premier League, but there was still doubt over whether he could lead the Arsenal attack over the long term.

He’ll definitely be better for that experience, which has helped him get used to the various aspects of Premier League football which plenty of foreign players struggle with a little bit when they first come into the English game.

He spoke of slight fears he had over the physical side of the game in England and also possible communication problems when he first joined the club but he’s worked hard on both of those things and they are no longer an issue.

If he’s challenged by the arrival of someone like Wayne Rooney then all he can do to back himself up is point to the goals he’s scored and the form he’s in, to suggest why he’s a better player to use than that new arrival.

It’s difficult because Giroud seems to relish the role of being the sole striker in the team, which is exactly the role Arsene Wenger seems to be looking to buy another striker to fill.

He also has to deal with misconceptions about his game and his skill. Just because he’s a big striker doesn’t mean he’s a target man and while Arsenal have used him to hold the ball up and to run the channels, he’s a much better player than that.

The trick for Giroud is to keep up the pace, keep on scoring the goals and ensure that he’s Arsene Wenger’s number one striker for the new season.

New players can come in but Wenger is not the sort of boss who will throw them into the team based on their name and nothing else.

He’s the sort of manager who rewards hard work, form and consistency so as long as Giroud ticks all of those boxes for the rest of pre-season, he should be the only striker Wenger uses unless he switches back to the now outdated 4-4-2.

It’s easy to blow his hat-trick against Vietnam out of proportion because of the calibre of the opposition, but it’s a good start to pre-season and gives him confidence as Arsenal head into a very important campaign and more difficult pre-season matches to come.

Would you trust Giroud to lead Arsenal’s attack next season?

image: © ronnie macdonald

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