COMMENT: This feels rather nice – so often I'm writing about 'my' players like Mesut, Theo or Lolo and often having to defend them (certainly Theo!). It's nice to write about a player, who I have no deep weird man love for, despite his charming good looks!
But, please, Olivier Giroud, take a bow. You deserve it, son.
He is a player I've always liked and have always regarded as a valuable member of the squad. He has however, taken a load of stick in his time.
For years, Giroud was a scapegoat and one of them reasons, in my opinion was because he was seen as the replacement to Robin Van Persie. In reality, Robin Van Persie was replaced by Giroud and Poldolski to share the workload and goals. It was a mighty difficult talk but as we look back, we should be praising him, not thinking about who he replaced. We should also be praising the club and manager, who deserve credit in signing a player for 12m who is about to reach 100 goals.
He, up till this season, had been playing up front for as long as I can remember, on his own, with no real support. Poldi came and tried, as did Theo but no one ever was in the same bracket as Giroud in that role.
Alexis has now shown himself to being a striker, or at least been giving the opportunity to shine there which is actually helping Giroud. He now has competition and more importantly, some real competition, he needs to perform, unlike before, when he was the 'ONLY' option, he is now 'A' option.
"When the name of Suarez was circulating, I honestly thought it was a good thing for the team. We could have complemented each other," Giroud told L'Equipe.
"Suarez would have been a cannon... and he can also play out wide."
"It would have been difficult for me with a different player. "We (Giroud and Higuain) would have been in direct competition because he is a pure central striker. Of course, at the time, it would have bothered me a bit. But I was not afraid of competition."
It's clear that Giroud wasn't keen on being replaced (naturally) but was keen to get a 'different' type of player and that player didn't end up being Suarez (due to Arsenal's stupidity) but has become Alexis (due to Arsenal shrewd summer signing of 2014).
Once Walcott and Ozil are back (which they should be on Saturday) it means more depth and options up top. Giroud may, like he has over the Christmas period, be expected to lead the line and perform or at times be expected to come on and make a difference like he did at Sunderland or in Manchester.
When you look at rating and reviewing the success of signings, you look at the quality of the player, the length of service, the price, the wages and make a judgement and in all those aspects, Giroud has been a fantastic signing.
Let's give him the credit he deserves.
Up The Arsenal