Giroud: from flop to not that bad at all?

By Walter Broeckx

I think we all know the fickle world outside Untold. That world of people who have their idea on a player ready after just one game or just one event.  One bad pass and he is rubbish and another of those cheap buys from the French and so the manager has to be sacked.

If he scores they keep silent but wait for the first moment that he makes a mistake and then they can tell how rubbish he is, was and will be.

I think this is something that can be said about Olivier Giroud this season. Missing a big chance after coming up as a sub in his first league game. And already they said: RVP would have scored that one.  Although of course we never will know.

It took him a while to score his first goal for Arsenal. That was in the league cup win against Coventry. But no goals in the league at first. But in his 7th game for the club in the PL he finally scored his first goal. Against West Ham that was when he put us level with a good finish when Podolski sent in a sharp cross.

But the media had smelled blood. The departure of the traitor had left a gap of course and Giroud coming from another league, having to adapt to a new league, new team mates, new playing stile took some time to settle in, much to the pleasure of the media who immediately dismissed him as a flop.

More sensible Arsenal fans as the majority of regular Untold readers weren’t that quick to label him thus.  We knew it could take some time. We knew that only with positive support he could come good.

But we know we have a small but noisy part of the fan base who believe every word in the media as long as it puts the club, the manager and the players in a bad light. The media say Arsenal’s manager and board are  stupid in their policy of only spending what we have earned and those fans hold protest marches, come on each and every blog, and slag of each and everyone in the club.

The media say the manager has lost it and those fans come out and repeat this sentence as their mantra until they believe it themselves.

The media say a player is a flop and those fans come out labelling said player as a flop for the rest of his days at Arsenal and blame the manager and the board for having spend money on him and not on player “fill in their favourite player”.

This was the way Giroud was going. Declared not up to it by the media. So he was useless according to the fickle part of the fan base.  Now the season is half way we can get a clearer picture of Giroud. And these are the latest numbers we can give you about him.

In his Arsenal career so far he has started 20 games and came on as a sub in 12 games. So he played a part in a total of 32 games.

In all those games he scored 13 goals. And keeping in mind that in his first 6 games he couldn’t score this means that in the last 26 games he scored 12 goals. So a rate of almost 1 goal in 2 games.

But what is also rather important for a forward is not only to score but also to assist team mates so they can score. I know a striker will be judged mostly on his goals but I think it is important to see if he helps the team in a whole to score goals. And so far Giroud has assisted to 9 goals.

This means that in his first half year at Arsenal he has helped the team to 22 goals in total. Scoring 13 and assisting 9. Not that bad for “a flop”.

In the last 8 years we have seen two world class strikers leave Arsenal. The departure of Thierry Henry and Van Persie has left a big gap. I will not deny this. When Thierry Henry started his Arsenal career he struggled. He struggled even more than Giroud did and took more time to score his first ever goal for Arsenal. And he played in a team with many of the best Arsenal players we have known. As for now Giroud is mostly surrounded by rubbish players (at least according to some sources). And in those days the manager still had a clue as for now he has lost it.

Van Persie stepped in the team that was filled with superstars we made. And it took him 7 years to really show what he could do. Many a time the fickle fans urged Wenger to get rid of that piece of deadwood. And when that piece of deadwood finally went away they blamed Wenger for not having him tied down to a 15 year contract. Oh that lovely hindsight management style.

Giroud had to fill the gap of the leaving Van Persie. Now we could compare Giroud with the last year of Van Persie. But that would be a bit dishonest. After all Van Persie had 7 or 8 years PL experience and the team was built around him in the last 2 seasons. Giroud came from another league and had to step in to a team that was not built around him at all. So the best way to compare the different strikers is to use their first season.

So I tried to compare those first complete years for Henry and Van Persie with the very much incomplete first season of Giroud. And this is what we get:

EPL Cup Europe Total







































  • PL= played
  • G= goals
  • AS= Assists

There is no doubt who was the greatest of them all. TH will be the greatest. Until Theo surpasses him. But if we compare the stats from Van Persie and Giroud we see that even with having played 10 games less than Van Persie his statistic is rather impressive. He scored already 3 more goals than “world class Van Persie” but he also had 9 assists compared to zero assists Van Persie had in his first season.

Who could predict RVP becoming world class after his first season? I surely didn’t and couldn’t. Will Giroud be world class? I don’t know. He is a different type of striker compared to Van Persie. Van Persie had and has sublime technical skills and I think on that part of the game he is better. But Giroud plays more with his heart and seems more of a team player. If you look at the stats from Van Persie with no assists compared to the 9 assists from Giroud this is very clear.

What we do know now is that if we would have listened to the media and  the fickle fans we would have got rid of Giroud by know. But luckily our coaching staff doesn’t listen to the media and those fickle fans. And what I do know is that it is important for real supporters to give each player time to adapt. And support him while he adapts.

Now it is easy to support Giroud. But I thank those who stood up for him when he struggled at first. That is the moment when real supporters are important. So I thank all those who have given him time. And I ask those fickle fans to man up and get behind a player. It is only because of the supporting supporters that players can come good. Not by insulting them and abusing them for each missed chance.

Whenever a player misses a chance my thoughts always go back to 17/05/2006. The day the great Thierry Henry missed the chance to put us 2-0 up in the final of the CL. And to 06/03/2012. The day that Van Persie forgot to score one of his easiest goals in his career to make it 4-0 against AC Milan. If you remember those world class players missing those chances, who are we to blame a “lesser” player if he misses a chance. After all we are human. And make mistakes. Accept that and life is easier.

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50 Replies to “Giroud: from flop to not that bad at all?”

  1. Thank God for some objectivity rather than the constant stream of misguided vitriol from the media and so-called fans

  2. well, the fans were upset with AW because he sold RVP to non other than manure. we stood by him for 7 yrs and when he finally showed what he is capable off, he f**ked off & we know what he said. i know we got money for him and all that, but see who’s laughing now!
    as i have said in the past, we get players from different leagues and it takes them 3/4 or 5 months to settle but by that time we are off the pace fighting for the covented 4th place. when they do settle….guess what, ….they are off to the higgest bidder. na$ari any1? so we are constantly trying to keep / sell / buy players and rebuilding every year. the only team who seem to keep their player is manure. yes they pay them the wages, that also gives them stability which =’s trophys.
    aren’t we supposed to be a good busniess? which means if you want good staff, you pay them well, so they stay longer, you save money on recuritment, training etc. what’s more there is stability. we are run like a call center, constant staff change. hope it stops with the current crop, as they seem to be really good. we just need a few additions & we all know where we need them.

  3. I agree totally. All of these social media “experts” are not doing the club any good . Seems to be a constant moan about wenger, the board, bad buys. This club is on the verge of great things . (In my humble opinion).

  4. although vP was much younger in his first season, I think Ollie’s adapting to the rapid pace of the game here has been quite a pleasure to watch.
    Our boss would not appear to have “lost it” quite so much if our defenders could cut out the most basic errors and not allow goals such as those at Brighton on Saturday.
    Tough at the back allied to great attacking work = success,
    but we all know that, don’t we ?

  5. So in your world its ok to have a manager who consistently buys players who take 7 years to come good if at all…?

    I like Giroud and think he’s good always have even when he wasn’t scoring because he was aggressive and he often did “everything right except score” complete contrast to the waste if skin that is Chamack, who even when he was scoring goals didn’t look like an arsenal player.

    I think your assumption that fickle fans want Wenger to spend £30m-£50m on fantasy signing and doom the club financial oblivion isn’t true. It’s clear we have money, we lost huge profits every year driven by selling our best players, we just want to have a squad strong enough where our back up striker isn’t Chamack and where Wenger trusts the squad enough to rest Wilshere so he doesn’t get stress fractures from playing week in week out as an 18 year old.

    And he stops spinning stories to the press about how difficult it is to sign players and miracles happening…. Lots of clubs have made signings that would have strengthened our squad without breaking the bank. I still haven’t fingers crossed that we’ll sign someone (by someone I mean a first team ready player not a 17 year old) but wouldn’t we have had a better chance of beating Chelsea and Man City and Liverpool on Sat if they were brought in at the start of the window as others have done…. Isn’t an extra million here or there worth it to give us a better chance of CL qualification…?

    How can anyone honestly look at the state if the club and agree with Wenger that he is doing everything possible to be successful. He’s barely doing enough to make 4th and I don’t call that successful if you sell our best player to a team above us and declare you knew that by signing RVP ManU would win. Aren’t we trying to compete with them? Take £5m less and sell him anywhere else in Europe, its not like we’re going to spend the £25m we got for him anyway…

  6. Have we considered the fact that RvP played as a support striker/ winger in his first season? Did he not make the switch to the striker role 2-3 years back?

  7. so in essence.. support santos until he comes good? yeah giroud is much improved but we all know that for a finisher, hi first touch and finishing is still suspect.we all also know that while finishing can be worked on, you either have a first touch or u dont!will he improve? i hope so( i have no choice!!)

  8. Gouresh,
    the good thing is now that all our players (apart Sagna I think) have long term contracts. So apart from some players who don’t play at all unless all the rest is injured nobody of big importance will leave Arsenal next summer.
    That means the core of the team will be there at the start and new additions will not disrupt the team that much as it did this season. Where we had an almost complete new attack and midfield compared to last season.

  9. Anyone who was slagging Giroud off either hadn’t seen him play or knows nothing about football. You could see his qualities from the start.

  10. Disco Stu,
    I think you would have earned a decent living in the time when we could sell slaves. But those days are over in most parts of the world thank goodness.

    RVP wanted to go to Utd and to no other team. Yeah that is Wengers fault. It was RVP who forced his was out with that statement to us “friends”.

  11. I’m pretty certain I made a comment before the start of the season that Giroud was ‘an Arsenal-grade Andy Carroll’ and I stand by it. I think someone else brought up Drogba, which again is a fair comparison (based solely on their first seasons in English football). We’ve lacked someone who can play our passing game and give ‘physical’ defenders a test, since at least 2002.

    Such a shame that too many people dismissed a player they’d obviously never seen based on their experience of Chamakh.

  12. Adebayor had a terrible first touch and yet he scored 30 goals for us in a season. I would be happy with any striker with a bad first touch that scores 30 goals for us (and then doesn’t turns in to a big ego and wants to be the superstar).

  13. @Chibyke,
    I think his second goal at Brighton demonstrates his first touch and finishing ability.
    What I liked about both goals was the fact that they were via the boot and not the head. We know of his ability to head the ball but until Arsenal improve their crosses and dead ball delivery, a shooter is all important.

  14. Agree completely, Walter.

    Olivier Giroud also seems a decent person. In his interview on the Arsenal web site, he makes a point of giving credit to Lukas Podolski and Abou Diaby – especially Diaby – for their great assists to his two fantastic goals against Brighton.

    It is very nice to see Diaby giving great assists like that one after all his injuries. Let’s hope he can stay fit for a long time.

  15. Good article. Some fans never cease to amaze me, they always want to criticize. You rightly point out that RvP took 7 years to settle, and giroud has done well for his first season, which is just past the halfway stage, who knows what his stats might look like at the end? I like that he’s not a player who always has the same finishing; he can head the ball, volley it in, etc, and just like any striker he has a weaker foot than the other. Why should he play like vP? Drogba terrorised defences but i dont remember him being skillfull or sublime. But didn’t he go on to win it all at chelski? Another player who just seemed to score goals for fun without really being blessed with technique is van nistelrooy. So as long as he is scoring, I’m happy.

    Another very valid point you make Walter is the same fans who wanted Wenger to get rid of vP when he was always injured. The manager kept his faith in him, and now he gets blamed for selling him when its clear its the player who agitated for a move. Song was another player who people didn’t ever want to see in Arsenal shirt again, and questioned Wenger’s blind faith in keeping him. Guess what, now that he did turn out to be a good player after all, the manager is getting blamed for selling him by the same fans. Two other players Wenger has been blamed for holding on to are Rosicky & Diaby. But we all know what these two can do when fully fit, and give them a full season and the tone will change again without a doubt.

  16. @Nicky
    True. We need good deliveries/crosses, and much as i like Theo, he’s a poor crosser of the ball. The only person with quality crosses is Podolski. That volley from the corner aginst W/Ham also showed he has great technique. Not to mention his wonderful lobs for the Gibbs & Podolski goals.

  17. Nice & genuine post. I must thank you.
    Credit must be given to Giroud and players who are giving it all.
    Attacking your own player will not take the club anywhere.
    Wishing great midweek for The Arsenal.

  18. Disco Stu,
    I dont think Walter said it was ok to wait for a player 7 or 8 years. However let’s assume Arsene had listened to some fans and sold RVP before 2012, would you have had the discussion about whether he was world class or not? Alternatively, would you have wanted RVP to go for free with all the money and time invested in him? Because the player had indicated he would not sign. How sure are you that apart from Man city, there were other suitors for him? In any case what if they were there, but were unwilling to give even 16M, since RVP had less than a year on his contract? Why do you think you know what Arsenal wants and Arsene doesn’t?
    After the Brighton game, many fans lambasted the team for a ‘lazy’ performance. I hope they reconsider, with Liverpool, Tottenham, QPR, etc having gone out to ‘lesser’ opponents.

  19. Walter…whom would you prefer playing in the middle? Walcott, Podolski or Giroud ? and i would like to know why ?

  20. I look under most stones on the Internet to see what Arsenal related stuff zi can find crawling under it and I can honestly say I have not seen any criticism of Giroud. This whole article is pointless assumption and has no basis of fact. Giroud has been a massively loved player since November.

    There being a transfer window and funds available, it is natural for people to want strikers like David Villa, but people do not want the iPhone 5 because they think their current iPhone 4 is crap.

    Striker wise we have only Giroud who is only going to score from luckily placed crosses or fluke passes, and you see how much he has to work to even pull those off. Allegedly we have Podolski too as a striker, but he is not as good as Giroud making something out of poor service.

    Understandably, after having had strikers like Thierry Henry and Van Persie who scored for fun while producing miracles from nothing, it’s no suprise to see another striker wanted of that calibre.

    Giroud is a player very much like another favourite, Alan Smith, and I stated as much back in September. I will not be the only only one who saw it then.

    Generalisation of Arsenal fans to justify paragraphs of waffle is becoming the norm for this once outstanding site. Now it just focuses on Arsenal fans and compares them with older people who did not have the internet when they were that age. If they did have it, they would have been writing similar things and changing their views about players just as frequently.

  21. I remember, I said here once, Give Giroud some time. Even Henry missed sitters.

    I honestly think Giroud would find his feet so soon, but who cares now. We are to benefit here.

  22. Got to agree wholeheartedly with both the article and most of the follow-ups.

    I just cannot believe how people experienced with football, whether fans or journalists can write off a player moving to a new league in a handful of games. How many players over the years have been a revelation in their second season, once they have full acclimatized/got used to their team mates.

    With Giroud there may have been additional pressure for him to adapt instantly as we did not have much of a plan B, but you cannot blame the player for that. Truthfully, the fact that he has got close to his best in half a season is a positive sign of his quality. — One of the best tongue in cheek (I hope) quotes I have seen this weekend is that he appears to have flopped at being a flop.

    On the Dutchman, as others have hinted, Wenger tried everything to sell him into Europe. If the rumours are true, he could have gone to Juve for £10 mil (not £5 mil) less than we got for him. The transfer didn’t happen because the player refused to go. What else can the club do?

  23. Arsenal1again,
    When I looked on Facebook and twitter only one week ago you didn’t have to dig deep to find lots of people out there telling what a rubbish striker Giroud was.
    Yes he should have put us 0-1 up at chelsea last week. His shot was aimed at the right corner, with the right speed and beating the keeper. Alas it ended up on the wrong side of the post and went out.
    I still remember the pundits telling me what a poor player he was and compared to RVP blah blah blah….
    Followed by a stream of abuse on the a-social media in the style of “X said he is rubbish, yeah he is rubbish”
    X= the daily pundit available

  24. Arsenal13, yes Henry missed sitters, seem to remember the great RVP missing one or two rather important ones last season as well! Nobody is perfect.
    Alot or our critics wanted Llorente, Ba, Huntelaar the pricey versions like Cavani, Benzema Higuain et al….some even wanted Darren Bent! We will never know, but from what I have seen, I would be surprised if any of them could better Girouds stats so far this season, maybe with the exception of the £50m plus Cavani

  25. sorry, forgot to mention Ibrahimovic in that list above as well, after all, we would been in with a realistic shot at getting him!

  26. Arsenal1Again
    You say David villa is version 5 of the iPhone with Giroud being version 4? Have you seen the goal stats Villa currently has for this season? Based on their stats for this season I’ll happily take Giroud over Villa any day. And I dont agree with your comment that Giroud only scores from lucky crosses/fluke passes; by that you’re demostrating either a natural dislike for the boy, or you haven’t watched any of our games in which he’s scored recently. I think in his last 4 goals there was nothing lucky about any of them, just class. Quit hating just for the sake of it.

  27. I could have thrown Adebayor also in the mix. And Giroud his stats are better than those from Adebayor.
    Who’s numbers for his first full season were: 44 games, 12 goals and 6 assists

  28. spot on .. no doubt.. but lets not forget Henry and Van Persie didn’t start their arsenal careers as center forwards/ strikers… that’s the only loop hole i can find in your theory.

  29. @ Al,
    Couldn’t agree more about our poor crosses.
    When we have a corner or free kick these days I seem to mentally switch off and just await the clearance by the defence or the gather by the goalie. We never seem to benefit from these situations yet we must practice them for ages at Colney.
    Even our receivers awaiting the crossed ball don’t look expectant or confident……there must be a simple reason.

  30. The corner against West Ham when Mertesacker took the defender away and Theo put it accurately across for OG to volley in wasn’t bad, nor the corner which led to the winner against Brighton

  31. Good article Walter.

    I’ve recently watched a player perform really well at the African Cup Of Nations, a player who could offer Arsenal something different up front.

    Apparently this player received similar derogatory comments from the nations media & some of the fans of the club he presently plays for.

    His name is Gervais Lombe Yao Kouassi.

  32. @Tasos
    Agree, Gerv is another player who has suffered greatly from these negative comments/reports. What amazes me is a brilliant footballer like Hazard comes out and says gerv is the best player he ever played with, and many of us, some of whom never kicked a ball, think otherwise. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion at the end of the day, but i think when fellow pros take their hats off to a fellow pro we ought to take note.

  33. Giroud is a good player, we have to give him time. We can’t compare him to the previous strikers we had at Arsenal, he will have his own skills and strengths.
    As for Van Persie, the little boy in him told him something different but the MAN part of is DNA went spineless!

  34. @Al

    Patience is a difficult virtue to come by in the modern day football fan.

    Some if not most players will require a supportive environment in order for them to perform to their optimum level.

    Difficult to quantify how much of modern sport is played out in the mind of the sportsperson & how much confidence will be affected by a poor environment other than to say it must be detrimental to have your own fans jeering you.

  35. Nice read, now im going to throw a spanner in the works. I will do this myself if I get the time, but it would also be nice to compare their seasons at the same age E.G. all at 21 and so on to see what path and progression we get, also where they plied their trade.

    I have always found it unfair to compare an arriving player to a player who departs.

    I also think that something Arsenal has been missing is; Getting stronger towards the later stages of a season, hopefully this is about to change.

    Im really starting to like Giroud, but I think this has more to do with his adaption as well as his team mates adapting to him. Nice to see and I hope we get even stronger collectively.

  36. nice article. I remember one of the arsenal blogs saying that giroud might be a good player but he was ill-suited for arsenal. this was before he started to score or create goals. so most probably the blogger has changed his mind now. despite the good stats of OG I think we need another striker, not someone who can be converted to a striker. may be by this jan or by may.
    for those of you saying giroud’s comparison with RvP is unfair cause rvp played wing: 1) look at how walcott has scored & assisted from the wing (at comparable age, not first season). also pires.
    2) lukas podolski’s 1st season stats in PL mostly playing from wing: GS-21, G-7, A-9. so an involvement on 16 goals compared to 5 for rvp.

  37. and let’s start talking about Podolski:
    “Wenger has no clue. He can’t play on the wing”
    “he’s average. he will never make it”
    “he doesn’t fit to our play style”

    but we could also compare Drogba to Giroud. Droga, this deadly powerful striker.
    “the kind of player who solves all our problems”
    First season in PL: 10 goals, 5 assists.

  38. Walter, good article, but I particularly like your 11.45am comment. The 6 British players have recently signed contracts, out 3 new players from last summer will have plenty of years left, Verminator, Kos & Rosicky resigned relatively recently & Mert & Arteta should also have quite a few years left.

    I do hope Sagna signs an extension, but basically the disruption we have suffered over the last two summers should not be repeated. We have a chance to build rather than firefight. Further, we have a really good core on which to build – and – some good young players coming through.

  39. @Mik

    I also like that Podolski emphasizes he is proud of his assists as well as his goals. A proper team player.

  40. @Arsenal1: that link you gave from justarsenal has some good articles from time to time, but many commenters hate everything to do with the arsenal we love. These ‘fans’ go so far in their hatred its verging on psychopathic almost. I have tried to debate it but the insults and abuse is funny as they want everyone gone but don’t give an alternative option.
    It’s incredible, one even said ‘we must go to war with these AKB’s and get rid blah blah.
    Anyway yes many commenters font rate OG and magnify any mistake that every and any footballer make.
    I like OG for sure, even when he decided to go for that long range strike v stoke when the pass to theo was a better option, shows confidence and dare.
    Comon you mighty gunners let’s take Liverpool to the cleaners!

  41. So, RVMoney started his career at Arsenal as a winger, and recorded 0 assists in his first season. Not bad;)

  42. Great finishing by our Giroud today, eh Walter? 🙂
    How did – how? – he miss that chance near the end. Mind-boggling.
    I see this interesting (as ever) piece, however, as another consolation, in advance, to excuse our not to get another striker – a quality clinical striker – tomorrow. Plus a true DM to replace Alex Song. At least these two. But not hereabouts. There’ll be no more injuries and hey, we’ve got OG. Who I do like. But he’s a part of the puzzle, not the solution, which reuqires more and more clinical firepower in this league, where defense does show up at the business end of a match.

    Let’s see what we get or not. But it’s telling (alas) that UA has well prepared the readership for nothing gained. Was anything ventured? Well, if there’s nothing gained tomorrow, the answer is……….we’ll never know. I still believe in the rabbit pulled from the hat; and Arsene has been full capable in that area of needed trickery. More tomorrow when we see whether we’re going to rationalize a mid-table level of performace or celebrate a genuine prospect to excel and get actual traction toward seizing 3rd/4th place. (Meanwhile, let’s get our rationalizations together to console us, just in case there’s no rabbit in le chapeau de boss.

  43. bjtgooner,
    Find shocking your so-easy-dropping of Sagna who has left more on the pitch for AFC (as you well know) than any of the young pups who you invest your full faith in. Sagna rocks and is a warrior, no thanks to those who have not or do not recognize what he has given this club, and see him out the door with a polite nod to his “service.” Sorry, mate, but I find your approach to him unappreciative and anticipating a firefight that “we” don’t need. Right, we don’t. But why is he getting his due a firefight; whereas the benchwarmers getting their salaries for being their and collecting splinters get nary a mention. Sorry, don’t me to personalize so much as it seems – I’m having a go at this generally un- or under-appreciative attitude toward Bacary Sagna that makes me see spoiled brats and a nimble and too eager substitution of the hopes for the golden future as a substitute for an honest and sober look at our complicate and difficult present moment.

  44. Has a super striker is good, but Spain show to the world, they don’t have super striker, but they can win WC and EC.

    At last they played with their strikers on the bench.

    So far, I think nothing wrong with Giroud, all 3 new buy is good, no complaint, good buy, worth it.

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