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October 2016
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You can never quite count Arsenal out

You can never quite count Arsenal out. The team overcame its struggles in the Champions League to play one of its best games of the year against a tough Olympiacos side and keep its dreams of European silverware alive. Olivier Giroud put in a terrific performance, notching his first hat-trick as a Gunner while continuing to have a spectacular season in the Premier League as well.

Based on his current form, Giroud was an absolute steal when Arsene Wenger snagged him out from under the nose of Montpellier for less than £10 million back in 2012. The modest investment has paid off in spades for the team. Giroud is currently having one of his best seasons yet and has proven himself as one of the most reliable strikers in the Premier League.

The French forward has scored 9 times in 10 Premier League matches, putting him in the top 5 for most goals in the league. Whether or not he will be able to continue his spectacular run will likely boil down to available playing time, because many important players are set to return from injury around the holiday break.

Many of Giroud’s opportunities this season have come as a result of Alexis Sanchez being sidelined with a hamstring injury—and Giroud has definitely made the most of his moment in the sun. His goal against the beleaguered Aston Villa made Giroud the seventh player in team history to score 50 goals for Arsenal and we predict there will be plenty more goals in the forward’s future.

Arsenal are currently pegged at 5/1 to win the Premier League, but we expect their chances to greatly improve in the coming weeks based on the team’s latest performances and the amount of key players set to return from injury after the holidays.

Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez has returned to practice and hopes to be back in game-form in time for the big match against Manchester City. Midfielders Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere are both likely to return by the end of January with even more players due to become available later in the spring.

While the return of Sanchez and company would definitely make an impact on the squad, manager Arsene Wenger said they will not rush the player back onto the pitch before he’s ready. “He may be a bit short for City, certainly, but with Alexis you never know,” said Wenger. “He is running already. I sent him back to Chile, where he has been running with the physio of the national team, and we will see what kind of state he is in.”

With Sanchez healthy and Giroud at the top of his game, Arsenal is looking as formidable as ever as we reach the holiday break. We’ll see how the playing time is redistributed once Arsenal has a surplus of scoring threats for the first time this season. However, that’s a problem most teams would be pleased to have.

25 comments to You can never quite count Arsenal out

  • colario

    In a BBC phone in program two Saturdays ago a caller an Arsenal supporter called in with this question:

    I have a bet with a spuds supporter that Giroud will score more goals than Kane. His question was ‘Do you think my bet is good one or stupid one?

    The BBC pundits replied ‘stupid’ and went on to say Kane will play more games than Giroud and that is because Kane is a better a player than Giroud.

    Nothing about how spuds have basically a one man attack while Arsene the ‘lone manager that ‘doesn’t do tactics’ has a number of attacking options available to him We non experts can see this but the pundits can’t.

    May be the adage ‘There is none so blind as those who don’t want to see.’ was inspired by these pundits especially for them.

  • porter

    Giroud the seventh player in team history to score 50 goals for Arsenal.

    there was life before the Premierleague.

  • porter

    Before the onslaught :- Firmly tongue in cheek

  • Barry L

    Ollie has to be one of AW’s best buys.
    We know he’s not an Aguero or a Suarez, but he has paid his transfer fee back 3 or 4 times over.
    He is a true professional. He came back from a broken ankle last season and scored goals that helped us to 3rd and FA Cup win.
    This season he started on the bench, took the demotion on the chin, won his place back from Theo and has scored 14 goals in all competitions.
    He holds up the ball, he has a great touch, and he’s a great header. Sure, he has his off-days, but who doesn’t.
    He is one (vital) piece of talented jigsaw that AW has put together

  • Mandy Dodd

    Since he arrived, OGs performances and overall reliability have put him up there with our most important players. I believe he is the forward Wenger wanted Bendtner to be, B52 certainly had the ability and physique, but it seems lacked application. Giroud deserves the special praise of one who has made the utmost, and beyond of the opportunity handed to him.
    This team are mentally strong as well as extremely talented, they can come back from adversity. Only the Petrostate funded and the corrupt/biased elements of our own league stand between Wengers team and the league title

  • Andy Mack

    We know he’s not really a ‘clinical’ finisher, although he has his moments when his confidence is high and he’s quite impressive. However he contributes so much more than finishes, his assist level is high but his ‘pre-assist’ level (the pass to someone in space who then gives the actual assist) is mega. Just search out some youtube arsenal goals where they show the 3 or 4 passes before the goal itself and you’ll see he’s usually involved.
    I have to add that I watched the Villa game and Olympiacos highlights again yesterday and was really impressed by Theos overall game as well. His first touch and vision have improved beyond all recognition. That’s not to say he doesn’t miss opportunities but he does the right thing much more often than most people appreciate. Also the opposition are so scared of his speed that it gives others the extra yard as well.
    I also noticed that although Campbell looked a bit tired against Villa, he still worked really hard. I didn’t expect that side from him but again, I’m impressed.

  • Rantetta

    I’d say it’s no surprise Joel appears tired. He’s pretty much Just started with this team.

    The game against Sheffield was one to forget – for the whole team. Campbell and others were kicked around for fun. In the next couple of games he started but came off before the end, having improved each time.

    The Olympy game was something else altogether. This wasn’t merely about starting for Arsenal in a CL game, no, this was in Greece, where he’d spent the previous seasons surely he felt he HAD to produce (for however many reasons).

    And boy, did he produce!

    But never mind the physical toll. For me, it was the emotional toll that would’ve put some young players out for a month. How about that ovation when he left the field? I’m sure he was near to tears. He’d given it everything (as had everybody else, yes, but his teammates are in a different place in terms of being used to 1st team play under pressure/playing to establish yourself in the team, etc).

    And he and his partner have had a baby. Many of you know how it is with your work and your thoughts when you’re having your first child.
    Emotional or what? So I’m not surprised Joel’s tired.

    Hasn’t Olivier has a baby recently? (so to speak).

    The thing for me about Giroud, is that he’s a massive talent, and he has shown it all along. He’s so good other teams just smash him about when they know they can get away with it, which is most of the time, whether EPL or CL.

    Once they’ve kneed him in the back, kicked him round the ankles, elbowed him or simply Vertonghened him, the ref gives the free kick against Arsenal. And if possible, send him off.
    I mean really, how many power forwards get the level of kicking Olivier gets, unpunished?

    And all the naysayers tell us he’s no good, and we need Benzy!
    Er, helleeeeoo, do you think Benzy gonna stand for that kinda kicking? Remember where he is and how things are played in that league.
    (We won’t even talk about other issues).

    As has been said here and elsewhere – the haters don’t like Arsenal buying players for correct money, and they turn out good, and they’re not the players admired by their agents, with dodgy personalities and driving records. Blah blah blah.

    Na na na nah na na nah, nana nah nah, Geeeeeeeerrrrroooooo!

  • Rantetta

    ‘Ere, last time Arsenal faced Barcelona at the Emirates, we won 2-1 with this team and subs:
    Eboue, Djourou Koscielny, Clichy
    Song(Arshavin), Fabregas,
    Walcott(Bendtner), Wilshere, Nasri
    Van Persie
    Unused Subs, Almunia, Gibbs, Squillaci, Rosicky, Denilson

    Nicked from edu at PA, without permission.

  • nicky

    The headline is a timely warning to those faithless followers, not to write off Arsenal, particularly when they are under-dogs. Witness the game against Olympiacos….a game likely to be of many twists and turns.
    Arsenal could have
    3. Won, but by less than the required two goal margin.
    In fact, Arsenal won and by a 3 goal margin.
    I wonder how many folk really forecast that result and believed in it.

  • proudkev

    Great comments.

    Olivier Giroud is a top quality player. He has proved it and stuck 2 fingers up at the ignorant nay syaers who abused him.

    I have to be honest and say I really do not understand why Olivier Giroud is still getting so much stick. Some of the abuse and name calling he has had and still gets is pathetic. It’s absolutely bizarre. For some reason the AAA have set him up as a target and they wont let go. These people wanted £20m Balotelli. They wanted £40m Falcao. They wanted £35m Benteke. In fact, they seem to follow the medias mistake of assuming transfer fee and ability are linked. Clueless. This is why they are students, barmen, cleaners, builders or office workers and Arsene Wenger is employed as a Professional Football Manager of one of the top Football Clubs in the World.

    For heavens sake, is being proved wrong such a dificult thing to accept? We all make mistakes, it’s just part of the cycle of life, none of us are perfect. They say it takes a big man to say sorry and admit he is wrong – I guess we already know we have some pretty small minded fans.

    I suspect a lot of these morons don’t understand football. The FFM are all about picking a fantasy football 11 and the software doesn’t take into account form or how players link with their team mates. Olivier Giroud is often involved in a lot of link up play. He makes intelligent runs that create space. He occupies two centre halfs allowing space for our runners. He plays an important role at corners defending the front post area. He gives us the option of playing long. When he gets left out of the team he doesnt sulk, in fact he comes back in and performs. The ultimate team player. A lot of strikers are selfish and their contribution to the team is very little. We missed him when he was injured at the start of last season for all the reasons stated.

    Unfortunately, a lot of fans don’t really understand football and they cant see what a player contributes without the ball. This is one of the most under appreciated parts of the game, what players do off ball.

    But he also scores goals. Big goals too. In the PL he averages 1 goal in every 2.1 games (50 in 113) – for a team that plays along the ground and not to his real strengths. What the hell is there not to like about that?

    Excluding what he delivers for the team, his goal scoring figures are pretty impressive and do not support the argument that he is ‘rubbish’:

    Olivier Giroud – PL Games: 113 / PL Goals: 50. Ratio: 2.2
    Olivier Giroud – CL Games: 24 / CL Goals: 11. Ratio: 2.2

    Didier Drogba – PL games: 254 / PL Goals: 104. Ratio: 2.4
    Didier Drogba – CL Games: 74 / CL Goals: 36. Ratio: 2.1

    Wayne Rooney – PL Games: 352 / PL Goals: 172. Ratio: 2.04
    Wayne Rooney – CL Games: 91 / CL Goals: 37. Ratio: 2.46

    Robin Van P – PL Games: 194 / PL Goals: 96. Ratio: 2.02
    Robin Van P – CL Games: 64 / CL Games: 27. Ratio: 2.37

    and the player we should have replaced OG with:-

    Mario Balotelli – PL Games: 70 / PL Goals: 21. Ratio: 3.3
    Mario Balotelli – CL Games: 35 / CL Goals: 11. Ratio: 3.18

    Never see these numbers in the media whenever the knives are out or on the anti-Arsenal blogs like LG.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh stop babbling about Giroud in this article… 😉 🙂

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Porter…yup…Football was not invented by the Premier League…at least 15 players have scored 100 goals for ARSENAL.

  • Jambug


    Thanks for some great posts (as usual) and some interesting stats.

    As you may recall, I put together similar statistical tables early in the season making comparisons to Aguera, Benzema, etc.

    Even back then he compared very favourably.

    People argued he didn’t do it against the ‘big boys’.

    I did a table that showed that to be wrong. It’s even wronger (if there is such a word) now.

    People argued that he missed ‘sitters’ that none of his contemporaries would. I posted links to utube howlers by Benzema etc.

    Still they wouldn’t have it.

    But getting to my point, despite all the stats above, and all the stats I produced, you still get things like this said:

    “I don’t care what the stats say, he is still not World Class”

    Without a thing to back it up, so they resort to:

    “I know what I see with my own eyes”

    Well, do you….really.

    But I do believe the tide is turning, slowly, and this is a great article supporting a lot of what you, I, and others say in support of Giroud.

  • para

    Off t0pic:

    My my my, these football breaks are getting so boring, look what the lads are doing now:

  • para

    Cant make out if you are saying war room or warum(why). 🙂

  • Jambug


    You know what they say, ‘Idle hands do the Devils work’ !

    They tried, bless ’em, but still looked pretty boring.

  • colario

    December 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Cant make out if you are saying war room or warum(why). 🙂

    In response to :

    December 16, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Oh stop babbling about Giroud in this article… 😉 🙂

    I couldn’t find the Flemish for ‘why’ so wrote the Dutch, which I think Walter will understand.

  • proudkev


    Cheers. My wife says all I do is talk bollocks, so its nice someone has something nice to say!

    I saw your earlier stuff on Giroud.

    Too many people are strating to realise they were wrong about him, so they want to try to compare him to out and out goalscorers. As I said in my comments, Giroud is a very important player in our team and should not be judged solely on his goalscoring figures. However, having said that, his figures are impressive.

    For me, his hold up play and physicality is as important as his goals, because of the dynamics of our team. The space he creates for our runners can be seen in a lot of our goals, as important as any assist. Yes he misses chances he should score but every goalscorer does that.

    What has happened is that those who have been proved wrong about him have set the bar even higher, its what they do. I guess if you have a habit of getting everything wrong then you get into denial mode.

    For £12m quid, he must represent one of our best signings pound for pound the club has ever made. The interesting thing about strikers, is that Thierry, Anelka and Giroud arrived as speculative buys, which Wenger turned into Gold. That is an inconvenient truth.

  • Gord

    About goals.

    And not babbling about Olivier Giroud.

    The BBC is running a story that Abby Wambach (USA, female) is about to retire. She has 184 goals in 254 (international) games. This is the record regardless of gender. She got to 100 goals in 9 years or so.

    #2 on the female international goal scorers list was Mia Hamm, also of the USA (over 275 international games). This record is currently tied, with the new person getting to 100 in about 10 years.

    There is a way to go before hitting the most internationals played of any female 100+ goal scorer of Kristine Lilly (USA) at 352 games.

    If we look at men’s football, top of the scoring list is Ali Daei of Iran at 109 in 149 games. Number 2 is someone we might have all heard of: Puskas with 84 goals in 85 games. Outstanding!

    The highest number of international games for men is held by Spanish great, Iker Cassillas at 165. There are 34 women who have played more international game (with Lilly at the top): USA (16), Canada (2), Germany (3), Sweden (1), Denmark (1), Japan (1), China (6), France (1), Italy (1) and Norway (2). Of those 34 players, 9 are still playing. The highest of the active players is another USA (Rampone at 311). Nearly all of those women did this on a pittance.

    Casillas is tied for 6th, and is still active. He is the highest ranked, active male player. 5th is 168 and 4th is 169. Both possibly reachable for Casillas.

    A few times in the past with various teams, one of the names at or near the top of the goal scoring list in a season for a team, is “og” (own goal). This is occasionally mis-spelled as OG. This practice should end, as Olivier Giroud is definitely not own goal!

  • Gord

    OT: Corruption

    Medja have been guessing as to what ban FIFA is going to impose on Platini and the bladderbird (I’m clean, I’m clean). I’ve seen 7 years and lifetime for both.

    Platini thought he would get off the 90 day ban, by proving that other people in the system were aware of what he was doing. He asked CAS, and they said the ban still stands. I’m sorry, it is not normal to do work for someone, and then bill them 8 or 9 year later.

    In any event, Platini is boycotting the FIFA Ethics meeting. I hope Platini gets a lifetime, and then he can spend the rest of his lifetime whinging about the reason for him getting a lifetime ban is because he boycotted the meeting.

    The bladderbird (I’m clean, I’m clean) has recently been caught saying that this FIFA ethics investigation is like the Inquisition. I am glad that the bladderbird is familiar with this, because when he is found guilty I would like to see him burned at the stake (a common punishment in the Inquisition).

  • Gunner6

    I have a theory about OG haters…..maybe.

    They are probably hard as nails no nonsense blokes who takes a fancy to OG because of his manly looks (even more so with his beard|) and trying their hardest to deflect this by talking negative things about him.

    Like the saying goes – It’s not enough to hate your enemy. You have to understand how the two of you bring each other to deep completion.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Colario, and is the same ‘waarom’ in Dutch as in Flemish for the English why.

    FFS I have been writing for hours on an article about Giroud… 😉 🙂
    You are just ruining a lot of things what I had written down and thought was very smart of me 🙂

    Just joking by the way 😉

  • colario

    Walter I appreciate your comment was not serious or in idiomatic English was made ‘tongue in cheek’. It was this that prompted me to ask you ‘why’ in Flemish rather than English. 🙂