When France squared up against Nigeria yesterday, there was plenty of Premier League interest.
In the case of France, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud was handed a chance to lead the attack but he failed to produce one of his best performances for his country, which has resulted in the striker being slammed in the press today.
The Daily Mail suggests that his performance against Nigeria shows why so many Arsenal fans grew frustrated with him last season, following a great start to the Premier League campaign.
“Could be considered lucky to even be on the pitch for as long as he did after appearing to aim an elbow at John Obi Mikel in the first half. Giroud has been a frustrating figure for many Arsenal fans this season and he showed why against Nigeria,” assesses the Mail.
In contrast, the Mail decided to give one of Chelsea’s youngsters, central defender Kenneth Omeruo, a glowing report despite the fact Nigeria conceded two important goals in the last 16 defeat.
“Looked strong in the centre of defence against one of the World Cup's most effective offensive sides.”
Giroud’s performance highlighted one of the main problems Arsene Wenger has in relation to the transfer market this summer.
On the one hand, Giroud can be a perfectly competent and effective striker, reducing the need for a big money centre forward signing. On the other hand, his inconsistency is immensely frustrating for the Gunners and creates pressure for Wenger to have ready made alternatives when Giroud isn’t playing well.
Omeruo’s situation at Chelsea is easier to predict and unfortunate as far as the player is concerned.
Chelsea will start next season with three very good central defenders in the form of John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic which will make breaking into the heart of the back four difficult.
Tomas Kalas has already been loaned out and Kurt Zouma is arguably ahead of Omeruo in the pecking order, despite not featuring for France at the World Cup, which means he may have to go on loan for another season if he wants to play regularly.
The match provided a unique and interesting insight into the situations and fortunes of two very different players at two of the Premier League’s biggest rivals.