Michael Owen has been singing the praises of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s decision over Olivier Giroud on BT Sport’s Football Tonight show.
France international striker Giroud was strongly criticised for his performance against AS Monaco in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie last month.
Arsenal lost that game at the Emirates Stadium 3-1, with the 28-year-old missing no fewer than four big chances, as shown in the Opta Stats table below.
|Match||Chances created||Total Shots||Shots on Target||Big Chance Missed||Mins Played|
|Olivier Giroud||Arsenal vs Monaco||0||6||0||4||60|
Giroud has been in good form since his return from injury, and Wenger persevered with the former Montpellier striker in the following game against Everton at the Emirates.
|Match||Chances created||Total Shots||Shots on Target||Big Chance Missed||Goals||Mins Played|
|Olivier Giroud||Arsenal vs Everton||1||6||1||2||1||90|
Speaking on BT Sport’s Football Tonight show on Monday ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final tie between Manchester United and Arsenal, Owen praised Wenger’s treatment of Giroud.
“I like him (Giroud), and I was astounded by the criticism he got after the Monaco game,” former United and Liverpool striker Owen said. “I mean, that’s what strikers do.
“If you miss a chance, it’s not that you play badly; that’s just what happens. He has proven himself on numerous occasions.
“And the worst thing Wenger could have done is drop him in the game after. It was good to see that he actually played him, and he went on to score in the game after.”
Giroud is not a world-class striker, but he is a very good player whose importance to the current Arsenal team cannot be undermined.
The former Tours star has scored 10 goals and created 18 chances in 17 Premier League appearances so far this season, while having a pass accuracy of 65% and a shot accuracy of 53%.
Arsenal manager Wenger rates Giroud highly, and it was indeed great of him to maintain his faith in his compatriot and play him against Everton.