Although it’s been quite a positive start of the season for Arsenal, not everything is perfect. Aside from the demolishing of Southampton, Arsenal haven’t scored more than two goals in any of their matches, including two 0-0 draws to kick off the season. The best example of their partial scoring problems is presented in the case of Olivier Giroud.
The tall (1.92 meters) striker came over for £12 million from Montpellier after winning the title with the French club while leading Ligue 1 in scoring (joint) with 21 goals. So far, for Arsenal? Five league matches + one champions league appearance. Zero times putting the ball in the net; one assist.
It’s mostly been off the bench for the player, with a start here and there, but Wenger has been playing without strikers a couple of times, going with something of a 4-4-2 that his two most advanced players are wingers, with Podolski venturing a bit more to the middle, while the midfield is packed with four central midfielders, some a bit more attacking than others. When Giroud is on, something of that midfield power is lost, but the big problem is his play.
Arsene Wenger is very pleased with the way Arsenal are looking in the start of the season. Nine points from the first five matches aren’t the best of starts, but it’s more about the way his team is playing.
The feel-good factor is there, especially about the quality of our display and the attitude of the team. The draw on Sunday should strengthen even more our resolve to do well in the league, we have a big part to play. We’ve been to three difficult places – Stoke, Liverpool and Man City – and we’ve come away from it unbeaten with convincing performances. Overall that is a very positive impression.
Giroud, if you haven’t noticed, isn’t a big part of the plans or the current success. Wenger would love his French striker, pretty much the only one in the squad, to start making his purchase worthwhile and in time maybe cover for the loss of Robin van Persie, but he seems to be doing better and better without him, while Giroud can’t find the chance to prove he’s worth such a big club and the trust of his manager.
A former Arsenal star, Robert Pires, suggests that Giroud still needs time, like every other player who arrives at the Premier League from across the channel.
Honestly, I think we should be patient with him. I’ve been there and I took five to six months to adapt to English football. This is completely different from what he will have seen or learned in France. The additional problem for him is that he has two very difficult tasks ahead. The first is to score goals, and that’s not an easy thing. The second, which is the bigger task in my opinion, is to replace Robin van Persie.