Arsenal legend pinpoints Giroud's problem - It's behind him!

Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has given his verdict on his former club’s recent dip in form ahead of their clash with Manchester City this Saturday.

The 50-year-old spent 13 years in North London before retiring in 2000 and the former defender knows a thing or two about strikers having played with and against some of the Premier League’s most dangerous frontmen in his career.

Winterburn played alongside Arsenal legends Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp and against the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Alan Shearer, Robbie Fowler. In recent weeks Gunners striker Olivier Giroud has seen something of a dip in form compared with his early season displays.

The French international has scored 19 goals and made 8 assists in all competitions for the North Londoners this term but has managed just one goal in the last month.

The 27-year-old scored in back to back games in his first four Premier League appearances this term but has looked a combination of fatigued and frustrated at times in recent appearances.

Winterburn however does not put this down to the player himself but rather a combination of Arsenal’s current injury woes and the lack of energy in the players Arsene Wenger does have at his disposal, citing the midfield areas as the reason for Giroud’s isolation up front.

"The worry I have is the midfield area. It was so, so strong for them in that early part of the season, with [Aaron] Ramsey, [Theo] Walcott and [Jack] Wilshere, but it just doesn't have a lot of legs in there at the moment, in terms of energy,” he explained to Talksport.

"[Olivier] Giroud hasn’t got lots of pace so you need runners to go in behind him. That’s when Arsenal play at their best.”

Arsenal are indeed without a number of key players including last season’s top goal scorer Theo Walcott, this term’s former top scorer Aaron Ramsey and No.10 Jack Wilshere across their midfield and wide areas.

We saw earlier this season the impact of Ramsey and Wilshere especially on Giroud via their bursting runs into the box from wide areas drawing defenders towards them and away from him.

Meanwhile, this lack of runners from midfield is only compounded by the absence of Walcott whose pace is a constant threat, enough to draw defenders out to wide areas, thus creating space for Giroud and, on top of all that, injury to club record signing Mesut Ozil means he is not getting the same quality or quantity of chances fed through to him. ]

The likes of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla (as well as January signing Kim Kallstrom) are all quality and experienced players. But as we have seen with the dynamism and energy of youngsters like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent weeks, Arsenal need those players capable and willing to make runs into the box, take on defenders and create problems for the opposition.

Lukas Podolski did just that on Tuesday evidenced by his goal and assist for Giroud but he came on as a second half substitute and the Frenchman needs that across 90 minutes.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch