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Na-na-na-naaaaa…. Giroud!

By Walter Broeckx

Regular readers of Untold Arsenal know that on this site on more than one occasion we have defended Oliver Giroud.

In fact when Tony compared his early days with those of Henry he was called some names. But the fact was that Giroud’s numbers were not that bad compared to the early days of Henry.

But in a way it was maybe unfair to compare Giroud with the best striker we have had in our club. I don’t expect Giroud to be the next Henry. I just let Giroud be the first Giroud for Arsenal.

Last weekend Giroud reached a first milestone. Olivier Giroud scored his 50th PL goal for Arsenal. He needed 113 matches to reach that number.  And not in all of those 113 matches he started the match. Not starting a match for Arsenal results in usually coming on after 70 minutes. Giroud started in 92 matches.

So just looking at his starts one could say that he is a player that comes close to scoring 1 goal in 2 matches for Arsenal. That is a really good score if you ask me.

Now if we could compare Giroud who is 29 now with another player the best player to compare him with is…Jamie Vardy. In fact they had very similar careers in a way. Both went unnoticed for a big part of their career.

Giroud only became a professional player when he was 21 years old. Rather old for a player. One could say that Vardy only came above water when he was around 20 years old. Giroud first played at a lower division club Grenoble who were in the 5th tier of French football. He then gradually moved to the 3rd tier playing for Istres, then to the 2nd tier at Tours. And then finally made the step up to Montpellier with whom he to anyones surprise won the French League. And then he came to Arsenal.

Jamie Vardy can be said to have a similar career run slowly moving up to the PL at Leicester after having played for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax and Fleetwood Town. So both are late blossomers one could say.

Much loved at Montpellier it must have been a shock for Giroud to find out how much hatred he could get from his own fans. Stepping in the footsteps of the traitor it wasn’t easy of course. Those who expected a copy of Van Persie were not given what they wanted. Giroud is no Van Persie and Van Persie will never be a Giroud type of player. Apart from being let footed they have completely different styles.

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But now Giroud having reach 50 goals for Arsenal the stats are saying that he is the 3rd fastest player to reach that number. Faster than big names like… Dennis Bergkamp, Robin Van Persie… Only Wright and of course Henry reached that mark quicker than Giroud did. But surely this gives us a good indication on how good he has been and how valuable his performances have been.

If we add assists we see that he has been involved in 100 goals in fact. In the 158 matches he has been involved (not started!) he has scored 72 goals and has given 28 assits. So that is not bad at all. Being involved in one goal every 1.5 match in fact. Not bad at all.

So Giroud has gone in 8 years from the 5th tier in French Football to the PL and CL and world cup. He was a nobody at 21. And yet he has reached this height in his career. People wax lyrical over the rise of Jamie Vardy but we ignore the fact that we have our own Vardy in our team. They have had the same difficult path to the top.

Yet Vardy gets praised and Giroud gets abuse, even from his own fans. Although not us of course.

Giroud (and Vardy in a way) only made it through hard work. Giroud has always risen to the next challenge. From the 5th tier in France till the top in France and now in the PL. Not the most natural talent but he is the prime example that apart from talent you also need to have character to work. It will have been hard work for him. Every day on the training pitch. And I think that at times he must have wondered if he had reached his limits.

There were moments when things didn’t go his way. And then he got the full abuse from the moaners. Wenger putting him on the bench and starting other forwards…. It must have been hard from time to time. A few unlucky matches in which he couldn’t even score the easiest goals… but those things are part of the life of a striker.

Giroud has always in his career shown enormous mental strength to overcome the next hurdle. Even if it seemed an impossible hurdle to take. Olivier just pulled himself together and raised himself to the challenge.

Some players are flashy and live on their speed, their trickery… Giroud doesn’t have burning pace. But with him upfront you know that you will have a player who gives himself as much as possible. His work off the ball is mostly neglected as it isn’t pretty to see or not that easy to see on the TV screen. But when you see him on the field and watch him move around you notice that he is working his socks off in every match. Even when being unlucky he never will give up and he will try to do better when the ball comes again.

But for some unknown reason those few bad matches that he had (and that any striker has) remain in the memory more than the strong ones. Maybe it is when he is no longer be an Arsenal player that we will remember him better? Maybe we now remember Henry as a goal machine but let me tell you he also had some bad matches when he couldn’t score. But now we pretend that Henry just scored each time he stepped on the field. No, he didn’t.

I appreciate Giroud for what he is and for what he brings to our team. He is no Messi, Suarez, Ronaldo, Henry, Wright or Bergkamp. No he is Giroud. With his flaws but also with his excellent performances, hard work, battling the whole 90 minutes for every ball.

Congratulation Olivier with reaching the mark of 50 PL goals for Arsenal. May we see you score many more over the next years. Because you have raised yourself always to the next level. After reaching 50 the next step can only be about reaching 100 goals. I somehow feel that if you don’t get injured you will reach that goal faster than the first 50.


  • 16 December 1970: Charlie George played his first game for the first team since an injury on the opening day of the league campaign.  This match was against Beveren in the Fairs Cup 3rd round.
  • 16 December 1983 Terry Neill was dismissed.  He was the 15th most successful manager at the club with a win percentage at under 45%.  He did however lead the side to one FA Cup triumph against Man U.

If you would to know a bit more about our publisher then there’ is an interview with Tony Attwood here.



14 comments to Na-na-na-naaaaa…. Giroud!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Hear hear!

  • nicky

    On the subject of Giroud and his
    qualities, in my book he is the best attacking header of a ball Arsenal have had for many years.
    Not so many years ago, the advent of a corner or set piece meant (to most TV viewers) the opportunity to break off and make a cup of tea.
    There simply was no chance of prospering from the free kick.
    Giroud has changed all that and is now a real menace in and around the penalty area. 😉

  • Ando

    I for one, appreciate the delicate power of Giroud – the finely weighted headers, the intelligent work off the ball, the hold up play and distribution. Comparisons are always invidious but he is an honest player who does not hide or complain. When he has a ‘mare, you can see he feels it. And that’s what I have wanted in any Arsenal player since 1965 – heart. COYG!

  • Gord

    Really nice interview with Tony you posted there Walter. Maybe it has been posted before, it’s the first time I recognized it. Fairly recent, it appears to be dated 2015/12/16.

    I won’t blab about Giroud. And take stories about Giroud away from you.

    Except to say, I don’t think the beard does a thing for him.

    And I want to see a goal in the opponents net in the style of that last og. It was a wonderful effort, just the wrong end of the field.

  • Chris

    Couldn’t agree more, Ando!

  • proudkev


    I put the case for Giroud on the previous thread. There I explained how he helps the team in other ways apart from goals, due to the influence he has on other teams. He is unusuual to a lot of strikers is that he contributes in other ways than just scoring goals. His movement and the way he occupies the centre halves, creates space for our runners. How many goals have we scored where he has been responsble without actually touching the ball.

    For me, OG is now being compared too often with players like Benzema, Lewandowski, Henry whereas before they were comparing him with Sunday League Strikers. I suspect they are moving the goalposts because the egg covering their faces is too difficult to hide.

    Previously I listed goal scoring comparisons which showed OG is actually a lot better finisher than some want to credit. Certainly those who wrote him off because he cost only £12m and partly because Wenger snubbed his nose at the players the ‘experts’ wanted him to sign.

    So lets put the cat amongst the pigeons and look at some numbers, purely goals scored and comparisons with players like Benzema. Let us see if that suggests Olivier Giroud is a rubbish goalscorer:

    Olivier Giroud – PL Games: 113 / PL Goals: 50. Ratio: 2.26
    Olivier Giroud – CL Games: 24 / CL Goals: 11. Ratio: 2.18

    Karim Benzema – LL Games: 198 / LL Goals: 95. Ratio: 2.08
    Karim Benzema – CL Games: 79 / CL Goals: 47. Ratio: 1.68

    So compared with Benzema, a striker playing in a Real Madrid side ina two horse league, his numbers are closer than most would suspect.

    Next lets look at Didier Drogbas numbers, I cannot recall him ever being called a rubbish striker, as OG is:

    Didier Drogba – PL Games: 254 / PL Goals: 104. Ratio: 2.4
    Didier Drogba – CL Games: 74 / CL Goals: 36. Ratio: 2.05

    Yet again, OG’s numbers are comparible, in fcat he has a better strike rate in the PL than Drogba who was playing in a heavily invested title winning team.

    Next, the media darling who has been much over hype:

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

    Yet again, OG is found to have comparible numbers to Wayne Rooney!

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

    The same with Robin Van Persie. This is scary OG is comparible

    …and if you want to get silly ridiculous:

    Thierry Henry – PL Games: 258 / PL Goals: 175. Ratio: 1.47
    Thierry Henry – CL Games: 114 / CL Goals: 51. Ratio 2.23

    Okay, lets be honest Thierry Henry is just super special and one of the greatest players I have ever seen. But ninetheless, a worthwhile exercise.

    If only we saw these numbers in the media. Well that would suggest the media did research, we know they don’t. They just abuse Giroud at ecery opportunity, playing to the ignorant gallery of WOB’s and Fantasy Football Managers.

    “Evidence based reporting” proves the lie about Olivier Giroud.

    Just what are people watching?

  • Andy Mack

    He rarely scores spectacular goal (I can remember one great long range shot and of course the Bayern goal) so he’ll never be considered in the Henry/Bergkamp league but in many ways he’s better suited to the team by getting on the end of the ‘team made’ goals.
    If Aguero suddenly becomes available at a sensible price then we must go for him, but there are very few others that I’d want in place of HFB, especially as the mix of Theo, Alexis and him give a good spread of abilities to confuse a CB.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Well said sir.

  • colario

    ”Yet Vardy gets praised and Giroud gets abuse, even from his own fans. Although not us of course.”

    Why do the English pundits continually write off Giroud as second rate and constantly trumpet the wonders of Vardy?

    1 He is English and it is natural to praise – over praise players of your country.

    2 He is a typical old fashion English center forward strong and fast spear heading the attack.

    3 He is exciting to watch.



    1 Foreign (see no. 5 )

    2 Slow

    3 Not exciting to watch.

    4 Not the typical English center forward

    5 And most important of all – for this See this link;

    You will have to let it run to the end near the end for the point the most important of all. It also has a bearing on the media’s hatred of Arsene.

  • AL

    Even if Giroud were to score in every game there are still people who will question him, because he plays for us. Didn’t we hear Moyes say the jury is still out on Ozil, a player with the highest assists in europe. If Giroud played for tottenham they would be running out of superlatives to praise him.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Olivier Giroud has been in a great scoring form for Arsenal since Walcott picked up an injury at Seff Wed Capital One Cup game that sidelined him for a month or thereabouts.

    Who can one say is better at striking for Arsenal between Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott? To me, they are all the same in their primary job of scoring goals for Arsenal. But their playing qualities vary from each other as recently highlighted by the Boss.

    I think the Boss has now adopted to start these 2 strikers in recent games with Giroud leading the line and Walcott playing wide to the right behind Giroud in a mid 3 attacking front runners that now comprises, Campbell, Ozil and Walcott.

    I think the Boss should stick with these 3 mids in front of Ramsey &Flamini at the Gunners’ midfield base. Even if Alexis has recovered from his hamstring injury and is declared fit to play. He should be started on the bench to enhance his injury recovery. This particular starting XI that started our defining Ucl qualification game away to Olympiakos and our BPL away game to Aston Villa are now looking to be a balance starting XI. Who have been fortunately discovered after the last balance team that included Cazorla and Coquelin who are now sidelined with a medium time absent.

    I think Olivier Giroud can continue his goalscoring run for Arsenal by continuing to improve on his all around play. He defends against set piece into the Gunners box. However, I will like to see him occasionally switched positional play with Walcott if the Boss starts the duo against Man City. I think such occasional switching of positional play can confuse the Citizens defense line and makes their line to crack and concedes goals. While Giroud will be more versatile.

    Finally, now that Olivier Giroud has rediscovered his goalscoring form and got his playing form back for both France and Arsenal, he MUST eschew anything that will cause him to drop both his playing form and goalscoring form. And keep to only whatever doing that will enhance him game. We wouldn’t like to see him fall back again. I take to take his goalscoring tally to at least 14 goals in the Man City match at the Ems this Monday night.

  • Pat

    Thierry Henry in his pundit role recently chose a whole series of clips of Giroud in the match to demonstrate his hard work and hold up play. He wanted to give him man of the match. Those clips were just the sort of things we rarely see when we watch a match on TV.

    I must disagree with some if the comments and say also that Giroud has scored some very clever and exciting goals. So on that point too I think he deserves appreciation.

    And the figures speak for themselves.

  • Menace

    SAA – your comments are much improved with paragraphing. You have also mentioned Girouds importance in defence.

    He is key in defending many set plays & his positional sense has great advantages for the team. It is his positional sense that allows him to miss so many chances. He is there where it matters & still manages sublime finishes. His running is unusual but sufficiently fast to create havoc in defences. He has to tolerate poor officiating when he jumps for headers as he is often fouled in the air. Defenders cannot match his timing so they foul him & go to ground, giving officials a false picture most of them fall for.

    Giroud is a part of a great team & will continue to score despite all that is said about him.

  • Rantetta


    Absolutely, totally, Spot On.