Giroud matched Henry's second season but should he remain first-choice?

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has come in for some criticism in his second season at the Emirates but the Frenchman actually matched Thierry Henry's second-season record.

The 27-year-old Arsenal striker functioned as the Gunners only senior recognised centre-forward this term with the club widely expected to bring in another striker this summer. He arrived as the top scorer in Ligue 1 in 2012 and enjoyed an improvement in form this term in what is his second season in the Premier League.

Giroud scored 22 goals in all competitions this term, which might surprise Arsenal fans to know is the exact same number legendary striker Thierry Henry scored in his second season with Arsenal.

In the 2000/01 season, the France legend scored 22 goals across all competitions for the North Londoners and actually achieved that tally over a greater number of appearances that Giroud did this term. Henry made 53 appearances overall to Giroud’s 51 overall last season.

Henry scored one more goal than Giroud in the Premier League, 17 goals in the league to Giroud’s 16 this term and Henry averaged a goal every 153 minutes for Arsenal in the Premier League in 2000/01 compared to Giroud’s one goal per every 192 minutes in the league this term. But, crucially, there was just one minute difference when taking into account all goals and all competitions in which Henry averaged a goal per every 184 minutes to Giroud’s 185 minutes.

The following season in 2001/02, Thierry Henry went on to increase his tally to 32 goals across the season and indeed equalled that in 2002/03 and by doing so won the first of four successive Premier League Golden Boot awards, starting with his first award in his third season with Arsenal.

Now, I am in no way suggesting Giroud is of the same quality as Henry but, it cannot be denied, the two Frenchmen are following (so far) the same trajectory. It is true that Henry was 24 by the end of his second season at Arsenal and Giroud is three years older than that now.

However, it would not surprise me if Giroud were to improve his tally again next term. In terms of assists provided for teammates, meanwhile, Giroud already beats Henry in his second term. Henry made just three assists in all competitions in 2000/01 compared to Giroud’s far superior 12 assists this term.

Overall, Giroud has the potential to be a leading striker in the Premier League in the next few seasons at Arsenal, but there is little doubt the Gunners require, at the very least, cover for their main man. The question is, should he remain their main man up front? If, for example, a striker such as Karim Benzema or Edinson Cavani were available, one would assume he would slide down the pecking order but, on his form this term, that would be more than a little unfair on Giroud.

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