Keown: This underrated Arsenal player deserves much more credit

Martin Keown is a big fan of striker Olivier Giroud.

Martin Keown believes Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud deserves far more credit than he’s receiving at the Emirates Stadium, labelling him undervalued in his blog for the Daily Mail.

The France international has been among the goals this season, firing in 11 Premier League strikes in just 13 starts for the Gunners.

His record is comparable to the very best in England’s top flight, but unlike fellow stars such as Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane, little has been spoken of Giroud.

Perhaps being overshadowed by Alexis Sanchez hasn’t helped, but Giroud’s return to the first-team evidently coincides with the Gunners upturn in results, and Keown feels he is underrated.

“What will it take for Arsenal fans to really love Olivier Giroud? Yes, he is appreciated by the home faithful at the Emirates but not to the same degree as other top strikers,” Keown explained.

“Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Harry Kane are worshipped at their clubs. But with similar goal-scoring exploits this season, Giroud doesn’t get anywhere near the same level of affection from his fans or the rest of the football world.

“He is valued as a player but not unconditionally loved. He deserves much more credit.”

  PositionTeamGoalsShots per GoalKey Passes per gameAerial Duels Won per GameAppearancesMins Played
Harry Kane FW Tottenham 16 4.9 0.8 1.32 25 1,777
Olivier Giroud FW Arsenal 11 4.5 1.22 3.89 18 1,165

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane may have scored more goals on average per encounter, but Giroud has contributed greatly in other areas.

The former Montpellier star is shown to be more clinical, needing fewer shots per goal, whereas he has created more chances via key passes and won his fair share of aerial duels.

However, such contributions are often lost on supporters and strikers are judged by their goals and ability to prove the difference between winning and losing football matches.

Giroud is undoubtedly a top marksman, but in comparison to the likes of Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie of years gone by, his style is rather unassuming and he often appears slow and cumbersome.

He will rarely, if ever, get fans excited in the same way Alexis Sanchez can, but in doing what he does best that shouldn’t matter and the team’s progression with his presence in the XI is ultimately what counts.

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