Three matches into his Arsenal career, Olivier Giroud is still waiting to score the first goal for the London club. Being the top scorer in France last season means nothing when you make the change to the much tougher Premier League, and the 25-year old French international has so far done nothing to prove he’s worth the belief and hefty transfer price.
Strikers usually need a bit more time adjusting and adapting. Giroud’s biggest club till now has been Montpellier, leading the small French club to a historic title last season, finishing ahead of the mighty and rich Paris Saint-Germain, scoring 21 league goals. Giroud’s excellent form literally came out of nowhere, scoring 12 goals in the previous season and doing the rest of his portfolio work for small, Ligue 2 clubs.
From that, to one of the pressure-cookers of British football, and one of the biggest clubs in Europe in terms of fans and expectations, although Arsenal, with no league titles since 2006 and no Champions League title since forever aren’t as big and prestigious as they like to think of themselves.
And Giroud, thrown into that pressured situation to play for a recently departed Robin van Persie, hasn’t lived up to the high expectations. Maybe he’s not that good, as some (including me) think of him, or maybe he just needs more time to adapt. He hasn’t been exactly tearing it up for the national side as well, scoring one goal in 10 appearances, but no one is exactly doing that for the French side. Maybe, he needs a little more time, which most players do.
However, Giroud knows he hasn’t done well so far – I’ve been freezing up a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull trigger and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France. I’m not too worried about it, because I’ve been scoring in training and I feel pretty comfortable being a part of this team. I just need to not think about things too much, so that I feel as relaxed as possible when the time comes to stick the ball in the net.
First few matches? I’d love to see the reaction from Arsenal fans when their £12 million striker goes through a non-scoring patch of 10 matches. Sounds too much like the story of Marouane Chamakh, who has been a big failure at the Emirates, but at least he came on a free transfer from Bordeaux before being completely forgotten about. Giroud is a similar player in style, and the lack of speed and clumsiness in his motion don’t seem to make up for his height and ability to reach those crosses.
Maybe there’s a bit more to Giroud than meets the eye. After all, he has been creating chances. Maybe it’s just a bit of luck that’s missing, to open the dam and than the goals will start flowing. For now, it looks like a player that’s a bit in over his head, not having the required skill set to truly be a success with Arsenal.