Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes there is only one area of Olivier Giroud’s game which the Frenchman needs to improve; take ons.
Giroud has accumulated some impressive stats this season with ten goals and six assists to his name so far, which seems to have convinced Arsene Wenger he can trust his front man for the rest of the season.
However, Keown, who has plenty of experience when it comes to defender, says Giroud has to work on his effectiveness in one on one situations.
“The side of the game Giroud needs to improve on is his movement and having the confidence to take people on in a 1 v 1,” said Keown in a Q&A session for the Daily Mail.
He does have a point because in terms of dribbling contests against opposition players this season, there are four key players ahead of Giroud with more successful dribble take ons.
If Giroud can work on his movement and his effectivess in terms of duels, then it will have a number of positive knock on effects for the side.
Arsenal have plenty of players who thrive in situations where they have time and space to be effective on the ball.
Giroud taking on defenders both on and off the ball has the ability to pull them out of position, creating pockets of space and holes through the heart of a side which his teammates can exploit.
It wasn’t all criticism and negativity because Keown also praised the way Arsenal trust Giroud more than any other player to hold the ball up in the opponent’s final third, bringing others into play.
“There are so many players that run from deep, he's the one they trust in holding on to it when they run on,” he added.
That trust seems to emulate throughout the Arsenal infrastructure at the moment and Giroud will feel confident over the second half of the season, as he looks to remain the primary striker at the club, regardless of who the Gunners sign this summer.
image: © ronnie macdonald