The 27-year-old Gunners striker scored Arsenal’s late equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park but suffered an ankle injury that could see him miss the next three months of the campaign.
An injury to a key player is never a good thing, no matter how you angle it but there could be some positives Arsenal could take from the Frenchman’s injury that come as by-products.
The Arsenal manager could now be forced to make a last-ditch signing for a striker in the last week of the transfer window. The Gunners signed Alexis Sanchez but the Chilean forward was substituted for Giroud against the Toffees last weekend and young Yaya Sanogo’s hamstring problem could leave the Gunners looking for a late signing to add to their forward lines.
Meanwhile, the manager seemed to suggest Lukas Podolski will be going nowhere, despite speculation over the German forward’s future at the Emirates. The injury to Giroud will almost certainly see the World Cup winner stay on, at least until January.
Giroud’s layoff could well see Sanogo (once he’s fit), Joel Campbell, as well as Podolski gain more access to first team football and thus an opportunity to improve and impress the boss. Whilst no one ever wishes their teammates would get injured, the players in the pecking order behind Giroud will now be thinking they have an opportunity to carve out a first team place for themselves and that could be extended to the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Serge Gnabry, and even Jack Wilshere as players could be moved from the flanks to play centrally to compensate for Giroud’s absence.
The lack of a dominant target man up front whilst Giroud (and Sanogo) is out could see Arsenal revert to a system that relies less on the holding up of the ball and the bringing in of midfield and wide players in attack to a system that exploits the pace of a player like Sanchez (and Theo Walcott when he returns imminently) with more balls played over the top, more through balls and a more concerted strategy based around counter attack. The pace of the players that will most likely cover for Giroud could see the Gunners play a similar style to their teams that included Thierry Henry – incisive passes from deep to an on-running striker hanging on the shoulder of the last man to dangerous effect.
Overall, flashing forward, by the time Giroud returns, it is entirely possible and quite likely that Arsenal will have a stronger, more flexible, more competitive, and better developed team and squad that he will have to work even harder to compete to get back into. It is never a good thing for a key player to be out for a long period of time but it could well force change and improvement on the manager and the players he has at his disposal in the meantime.