Wright, Bergkamp, Henry, there have been plenty of Arsenal forwards in the recent past who will go down in history as the greatest centre forwards the North London side has ever had and 26-year-old Olivier Giroud has a chance to join them.
He’s quite rightly Arsenal’s main striker at the moment and someone facing a huge challenge in terms of maintaining that form and elevating his current popularity with the fans.
The main criticism of Giroud is that he doesn’t have the same skill set as some of the great strikers of the recent past, which limits the number of ways he can play as a centre forward.
However, can anyone really be compared to the likes of Henry and Bergkamp? Unique during their time in North London.
Arsenal are a side packed with superb midfield players and small, dynamic and quick players on the ball who shift possession quickly and effortlessly.
Giroud is always going to cut the figure of a target man. Someone Arsenal can use to hold the ball up while the more creative midfield catches up with the play.
However, it’s more important to focus on what he can do rather than what he can’t do or how disadvantaged he may appear when compared with better technical players.
What Giroud does so well is he gets himself into positions where the ball is likely to end up and that gives him a chance to score goals regularly for whichever attack he’s playing in.
He doesn’t have to be creative and drop off to a variety of different positions up front because Arsenal have those bases covered. His job is to sit there, on the shoulder of the opposition defence and score goals.
His chances of winning the Premier League’s golden boot are only enhanced by the club’s decision to invest over £40 million in German midfielder Mesut Ozil.
The chances will be laid up by the midfielders in the squad, all he has to do is continue getting into the right positions to receive simple passes.
The fact Arsene Wenger didn’t also go and do a deal at the last minute for another centre forward shows that he has clear faith that Giroud could core 25 goals this season, maybe even more if things go his way.
Arsenal fans will be happy for as long as he’s sticking the ball in the back of the net and if he can better his tally from last season, that means progress and that means he would have played a huge role in any silverware Arsenal manage to win.
Can he become one of Arsenal’s great strikers? What do you think?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald