Of the many mistakes and bad signings Arsene Wenger has made for Arsenal over the past few years, two stand out above the rest – Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud. Both Frenchmen, tall and impressive looking, before they start playing football.
Giroud doesn’t have the worst numbers in the world – He has scored 11 league goals in 33 matches, adding 3 assists, and 17 goals in all competitions. He’s a clever player who is tall, big, and hard to cover. Yet his decision making when it’s up to him to seal matches is never at its best, and the scoring droughts he goes through are quite frustrating for a player who cost £9.6 million, but isn’t exactly a teenager who needs too much time to evolve.
Some might say that Arsenal’s run in recent weeks (Undefeated since March 3) has a lot to do with Laurent Koscielny being the best player on the pitch for the gunners. There’s no doubt that he’s doing better than anyone else the gunners have, especially the disappointing Thomas Vermaelen, but it doesn’t make Koscielny, through all of his mistakes since becoming an Arsenal player, worthy of more chances.
Symbols of mediocrity, and of low ambition. Giroud isn’t a world class striker, but a player who should be playing as a substitute to one at best. He doesn’t have the mental capacity to be sharp and on target each match, especially for a team that doesn’t have the easiest time finding the net. Giroud has plenty of midfielders with the ability to feed him the ball, but his problems with handling ground-passing plays instead of crosses, not Arsenal’s specialty, make him look a bit awkward and lost in the box at times.
Koscielny isn’t much different. Physically, he’s quite impressive, with an ability to dominate in the air and on the ground during his good days. The problem is his performances in big matches, and his loss of temper and cool at times. Own goals, foolish penalty kicks given away and losing his man while marking for what seems to be like the simplest of concentration lapses, quite costly at the highest of levels.
Arsenal aren’t an elite team anymore, but the question is – do they want to be? If the answer is no, than having Giroud and Koscielny as the leaders of the front and back of the team is just fine. If they want something more – more than battling for fourth, more than barely qualifying from the Champions League groups, than they need better players than these two.