Come on Olivier, let’s do a Montpellier

By Walter Broeckx

Are we seeing the French Ligue 2011-2012 being redone in the PL this season?

When I looked in to the stats of Olivier Giroud I asked myself this question. I have written about the career of Giroud when he came to Arsenal before. And I then pointed at the fact that in his second season he usually did much better than in his first season. He just needs some time to adapt to each new situation.

In his first season at Montpellier, he scored 12 goals and had 3 assists in the league.  He almost doubled those numbers in his second season scoring 21 goals with 9 assists in the league. So a goal contribution of 30 goals in total in the league.

Now what is more interesting is that this was the first season in which whatever oil country it was bought PSG. So little Montpellier (with all respect of course) had to stand up to the giant club that PSG is. And half way the season it looked that PSG would buy, sorry win, the title with not that much problem. Halfway the season Montpellier was 3 points behind and Lille 4 points behind.

But they were small teams compared to big spenders PSG. Surely they would collapse and falter at some stage.

Yet the boys from Montpellier didn’t falter. They kept on hanging in while Lille did collapse. And by half March they both were very much separated from the rest of the teams.

But around that time things changed and Montpellier took the first place from PSG. Surely it wouldn’t last till the end, was the general opinion.

But Montpellier held on to their lead and PSG, the big money team started having problems and lost a little bit of ground on Montpellier. Montpellier made a gap of 5 points, had to concede a draw and then the gap was only 3 points. But they held on to that lead and finished champions in France for the first time since their foundation in 1919.   The person leading the front line was as you will know Olivier Giroud. And it was after that season that Wenger decided to bring him to Arsenal.

Another interesting thing is that Giroud played 36 matches in that successful season for Montpellier. 36 matches out of the 38 matches. And this also shows that Giroud really is a person that can last a whole season.

And now I hope I don’t jinx it and I am touching all kinds of wood that I can touch and keeping my fingers crossed but it is difficult to type with crossed fingers so I momentarily will uncross them again; but it shows that he is not that easily injured and has a good way of recovering.

A bit amazing for a player who takes so many knocks during matches and one who is never afraid to lead in battling with defenders. And even when he takes a knock and goes down you have the feeling he will come up again and continue to play.

Now people will of course say that Giroud only scores against smaller teams. You may say: how many goals did he score against MU, MC or Chelsea? Well as many as Suarez scored for Liverpool against Manchester City and Chelsea. He didn’t play against MU so couldn’t score but this only to show that one could also use this as a criticism towards Suarez.

To be honest I’d rather have Giroud not scoring against those teams (but leaving that to other players then) and have him scoring and winning matches like he did against Southampton (who could have gone top of the league if they would have beaten us) or against Newcastle. That is already 6 points directly from his contribution that I remember from the top of my head.

If we look at his numbers from last season we see that he then scored 11 goals and had 3 assists to his name in the league. And now after having played 18 matches he has scored 8 goals and has 5 assists to his name. So he already has contributed to 13 goals this season and last season it was 14 in total. All in the league.

So one might expect that he will be going on like this he will again improve his record of last season.

And what is also important is the fact that he has been there before, be it in the French league. Fighting against big money teams. A fight that was deemed to be impossible by all who followed football in France. But Giroud and Montpellier did it.

And by now you can understand why I started comparing this season with the French league 2 seasons ago. Arsenal is fighting for the title. Not just against one big money team as Montpellier had to do but against two teams. Two teams that have been build on money from outside football. While Montpellier has been build from within. Just like Arsenal.

Can we do what Montpellier did and resist the big money teams? In a way this is crucial for football in England one could say. If not, then we might give the title to the team that just throws the most oil money into football. Forget about working within your means. Forget about Financial Fair Play. Just look for a rich preferable oil country to buy your club, throw money at it that makes you wonder if that country has no internal problems and all its inhabitants are living in great prosperity (and with all I mean all – not just the happy few). If so fine for them.

Arsenal not winning the league might kill he hope of any decent run club to win the league any time soon. If you have to bend over to such teams and the visible wrong decisions such money teams seem to be utilising this season one can forget about football for the future. Just give the title to whoever spends most money then.

Of course as an Arsenal supporter I hope that the money doesn’t win. I hope that football, the sport, wins it from football, the money. But I do think that fans of other clubs who are not in the rich-oil-plaything situation should hope the same. Let us show that money doesn’t ruin football completely (as far as this still hasn’t happened already  of course).

On paper and going by money spent Arsenal should have no chance whatsoever to win it from Manchester City or Chelsea. Their second team cost even more than Arsenal first teamers cost. But as Montpellier has shown it isn’t always the big money that wins it. None other than Giroud was instrumental in Montpellier winning the title. May he perform that trick again for Arsenal this season. Now wouldn’t that be the ultimate success for the sport that football still should be?

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43 Replies to “Come on Olivier, let’s do a Montpellier”

  1. Its not always about how much one spends, its about the attitude. Last yr and before that we have seen that our players were not playing together. If it was Songs or RVP’s attitude I don’t know. But one could clearly see that there was no togetherness in the team. From the middle of last year, you can see a massive difference, now players was to win, fight, cry and laugh together. This attitude wins games and hopefully the title.

  2. Ok arsenal are a huge team in Europe not comparable with Montpellier in any way, and once the £42 million signing came in it lifted everyone and their spirit and attitude were lifted. Arsenal spend a lot of m

  3. Walter,
    Great read. Great perspective.
    One difference for Giroud two years ago in France: The French press and blogs weren’t going on and on and on that he wasn’t enough or that he couldn’t last the entire season.

    Some help we get from the press, etc., With Arsenal, the cup is always mostly empty even when it is three-quarters full.

    I totally agree that it will be good for Arsenal to show that it is not forgone that the EPL league trophy will always to go the highest spender….and, equally important, that most British football “pundits” don’t have a clue about talking analytically and knowledgeably about the game!

  4. Giroud needs 20+ goals this season he has all the skills to be a great but he needs that bit of luck in front of goal some of the chances he has missed recently (Everton west ham city ) even by the law of averages must be just bad luck . That may have changed now (newcastle) he brings lots to the team not least a fighting spirit just start scoring Ollie. And we will win the league. COYG

  5. Husband: Honey, where is my food?
    Wife: Your food is where Arsenal is.
    Husband: You mean at the top of the table.
    Wife: And that’s where it will always be.

  6. One more suggestions that arsene or some one at reads untold.

    The Gunners have conceded fewer fouls than any other Premier League team this season (184) but seven clubs have received fewer yellow cards.
    Of the seven players to have picked up a league-high six yellow cards in the Premier League this season, Mathieu Flamini has committed the fewest fouls (13).

    Least fouls commited but not the least yellow cards for player or club. We all know what that means, if only the “press” catch up sooner. Is there traction on Rodger’s comments on refereeing from the game with oilers in UK press ?

  7. Unfortunately there are a number of reports that Giroud has an ankle problem (thank you Probert and bar codes) and will not be available for Cardiff, lets hope it is not too serious.

  8. bjt,
    Shame about Giroud, I hope it’s only a short term niggle however it again forces us to carry out some squad rotation and with Cardiff in 16th, they may be the ideal team to do this against.

  9. Lets hope their injuries are not too bothersome and they are rendered fit after the new year .
    In the meantime its a good chance for the ‘fringe’ players to prove their mettle .
    Walter , I do hope that you are proved right and OG has a good 2nd half of the season .

  10. I think Wenger would have rested Giroud and Ozil for the Cardiff game anyway. Bendtner will do a job as he did against Hull.

  11. yes I think Bendter and Podolski, with Pods crosses then Bendter should be able to get his funny hair-doed dome on the end of a couple. Then Pod wont want to miss out as well right?
    I heard Theo also is out.

  12. ARSENAL is the last ray of hope for the ‘fair players’. Go Gunners GO lets do it…..

  13. Excellent write up Walter. It would be a massive victory for football if Arsenal win it this year. My second favourite team would be Liverpool if we can’t win it, they’re not being propped up with oil money too. But am afraid, as you already conceded, that oil money will grease a few hands and the will be or may have already been bought.

    It’s no coincidence that Arsenal and Liverpool have both been robbed in their matches against the two money clubs, who, incidentally, they played one after the other, after each other, in the same order; too many similarities for my liking. In all cases, the officials were blowing one way only, and that is for the money clubs.

  14. seems Giroud and quite a few others doubtful for Cardiff…after Probert purposely let them take a kicking, with the clear aim of depriving Arsenal of players through injuries, or cards if they retaliated.
    As for OG, he has been very good for us this season despite no protection from said refs. Still think he needs help though, especially in this league, dont care if it is help from within the current squad or players bought in. Maybe Super Nic should get a chance or as others have suggested, move The Pod into the centre
    OG may have lasted 36 games in france, but it is different here especially they way our players get treated week in week out from **weak/biased/bent/incompetent officials
    ** – delete as appropriate

  15. By the way it is Jonathon Moss for the match tomorrow.
    Voted best ref of the year last season by the Untold reviewers… Let us hope he keeps it up tomorrow.

  16. How is this for a conspiracy ; Arsenal and Liverpool are the clubs challenging the money clubs in England for the title. They both played them in succession, first Arsenal played City, then Chelsea, and Liverpool were up next to play the same teams in exactly the same order. Arsenal lost at City after having goals disallowed and denied a penalty. Liverpool also lost at City after a disallowed goal and also denied a penalty. Arsenal were denied a penalty against Chelsea and Chelsea should have had two players sent off for studs up challenges; Mikel And Ramires. Liverpool were also denied a penalty and Chelsea should have had two players sent off for studs up challenges; Eto and Oscar. I think I’m reading too much FIF 🙂

  17. “Shame about Giroud, I hope it’s only a short term niggle however it again forces us to carry out some squad rotation and with Cardiff in 16th, they may be the ideal team to do this against.”
    Stuart, Walter, et. al.,
    Full disclosure: I value Giroud and want him on my side for his skills and potential. While some may want him out (or attack AW for bringing him on), that would be stupid and destructive to this squad, in the light of his still-developing talents. But to pretend that those talents and potentials are not being overstretched or risked is now proven to be misguided (if not reckless). You go on about “hope” and “niggle” and “some squad rotation”; but these are the euphemisms trotted out while we all (repeat, all) are holding our breaths. We’ve often seen how “out a few days” can become months in this game.

    The stand-pat/don’t spend position is unnecessarily gambling with a potential championship season by advocating we don’t bring in (that is, spend on) a quality complement/backup/rotational forward striker to serve with Giroud in various capacities. Not to replace him. (Repeat, not to replace him.) And not to insult him, nor to do evil. Purchasing Quality backup ensurance to you seems to be a sin against all that is Arsenal. As if the only two choices are spend and violate Arsenal, or don’t spend and be true gooners. (At least Walter, you have thankfully now provided an analysis to go with your/UA’s anti-spending view. And, from yesterday’s posting – in a “major breech” (joke) with Tony, that you’ll now allow for only top-top-top-top talent. Of course that means don’t spend a centime; and, it wasn’t you, several here would wield their ready pitchforks and torches to drive that heresy from the land.) We have already spent big on Ozil, so, sorry, but we’re not virgins anymore. And all know that other quality players will want to come here to play with a world-class talent like him. (Oh, and this is not deification; but market nous to recognize this.)

    Since it is affordable, parlaying this into another buy – not for it’s own sake, but at this very time – for needed quality ensurance AND as a last piece to defend and advance our position atop the table, straight on through the business end to at least one significant cup. Why reject (or smear) this actual hard-won opportunity as something tainted? Or do we only hold out for another home-grown saviour from the ranks and on the cheap (in order to redeem an illusion of purity?); and risk, yet again, losing him to lures of the marketplace?

    Like Tony said yesterday, we have the money because yes, we’re good at money. So, no, affordability is not the issue. Being in this position was clearly very hard-won. And our getting here has been rightly celebrated. Why pretend we’re not in this position. We don’t need a world-class bench like the petro-boyz to prevail; not when another piece could be our tipping point? Did Mert not just say, but two days ago right after Newcastle, that adding (his word) the right pieces is now the big consideration? Our BFG knows. And he wants a championship. To continually rehearse the mantra that Poldi-Theo are willing, able and enough is a big roll of the dice: one that ignores that neither has a history of success in the forward spot. Yes, Theo the quick, has wanted it; but AW, it seems, knows better. And Poldi, by most accounts, is lethal playing off the striker, but not in that position.

    In any case, we do have options and that is a good thing. And, regardless of where we each stand on this, I’m wishing a Happy New Year to all.

  18. Mandy Dodd,
    Echoes to your 1:30. Sane and sober. But now on to the bubbly and a clink of the glass to you and to our 2014 prospect!

  19. Interesting Al! But the oilers certainly seem to be the PGMOLs clubs of choice. Wonder if Mr Suarez will have an unpleasant surprise on the horizon if Liverpool become too much of a threat!
    Also interested to see the treatment Stoke are getting, some would say not before time, and a bit of karma coming into play, but could not imagine them getting such treatment under Pulis, especially as Hughes seems to be trying to change their style …to a degree…but..Stoke ..hey..ho..
    Good to see Mr Moss up next, comes across as a good ref on this site, though FIF seems to have it in for him a bit

  20. wenger said Rosicky is out because he got a kick in Newcastle game. – Thank you Probert, thank you very very much.

    we have monreal , verminator – doubt coz they have just recovered from illness
    Wilshire, rosicky – knocks
    gibbs – calf
    giroud – ankle
    Walcott – unknown reasons

    so half from the team that played Newcastle is out / doubtful becoz we were allowed to be kicked.

    bunch of useless fools refereeing the games.

  21. @Bob,
    While I agree with you in all you say about Giroud, I worry whenever he receives the ball at ground level. There seems to be an immediate problem attaining co-ordination.

  22. I agree Mandy that the pgmob seem to prefer oilers. I think the chavs are being aided by those in the media mainly, not sure if it’s because of the Lampard-Terry axis, or if it’s due to the media’s general fawning to the odd one.
    Interesting views on Stoke, never thought they’d be treated that way but whatever it is it can only be a good thing for all of us 🙂

  23. On the pictures you could see Vermaelen so I gather he will be fit and he can fill in at left back when needed

  24. I do quite like Giroud, and think he’s massively underated. I wonder if its the English media’s portrayal of him that leads to this, but I am positive he wouldn’t be in the French line up(and starting ahead of Benzema) if he was that rubbish. COYG!!

  25. Paulinho’s injury as a result of a Charlie Adams challenge seems to be causing a lot of indignation and consternation amongst the Spurs sympathetic tilted media. Never noticed this sort of reaction to any of the (numerous) injuries to Arsenal players meted out on a weekly basis, some far worse than Paulinho’s.

  26. Despite the injuries, I am optismistic about the game. This feels like the kind of game where Poldi and Gnabry can come in on the wings, with Carzola in the hole behind Nic. Poldi on the wing with his crossing ability in particular, should provide some opportunities for Nic to score. Arteta and Flamini will likely start in thte heart of the midfield to control the pitch and game. Only question would be whether AW would be forced to play the BFG for a 4th game in 9 days or can start Kos + TV5 in the middle (if Monreal is fit to start at LB).

    Happy New Year to Untold and all fellow Gooners.


  27. @Bob,
    I raise a glass of Calvados to you my friend and wish you all you wish yourself in 2014.

  28. A very special new years to TONY AND WALTER and all others helping with this blog. CHEERS….

  29. Holy moly. How tough is OG to finish playing that game against Newcastle on an injured ankle. Warriors one and all.

  30. All the best for 2014 to everyone – to Tony and Walter, to the contributors, to the posters of comments, and to the silent readers. This is such an interesting, positive, optimistic site.

  31. From Frozen Canada Happy New Year everyone ,….Bonne heureuse anneé du Canada congelé tous les Gooners!

  32. An article from the Telegraph saying almost the same as what Walter is saying here, that an Arsenal title win will be a victory for football. For those that can’t be bothered to read through, here’s a snippet from the last paragraph;
    “Against this backdrop, Wenger’s eminence feels like a barricade we can all get behind, against the new charlatans. It gives us some slim hope that ‘business’ will not destroy football, however hard it tries.” So true.

    Happy new year and all the best for 2014 fellow gunners!

  33. Agree on the Giroud second season playing for under-dogs thing completely. However, there are some differences:
    1. PSG did not have Manuel Pellegrini or Jose Mourinho – both of whom are present in EPL.
    2. Man City is already several seasons with their mega rich team (with some additions but the team is generally stable now) so they are much stronger now.
    3. If Arsenal do it this year, it will be a miracle – but they are unlikely to be able to continue it.

    Money will rule in the end. You are seeing it in English Football now, but just look at our societies in general – its always about it. Any sector, any institution, any industry…

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