Arsenal don’t have a plan B. Well, actually we do. It’s Giroud.

By Tony Attwood

Here’s a thought and a half: Olivier Giroud has scored 12 goals from his last 17 shots on target in the League, FA Cup and Champs League.

Here’s another: he takes less time on the pitch to score that Lionel Messi, Diego Costa or Sergio Agüero.

His figures at Arsenal now look like this…

Season League FA Cup League Cup Champs L Total*
Pld Goals Pld Goals Pld Goals Pld Goals Pld Goals %
2012/3 34 11 4 2 2 2 7 2 47 17 36
2013/4 36 16 5 3 1 0 9 3 51 22 43
2014/5 27 14 5 3 0 0 3 1 36 19 49
2015/6 38 16 5 3 2 0 7 5 53 24 45
2016/7 13 6 1 1 1 0 4 2 19 9 47
Total 148 63 20 12 6 2 30 13 206 91 44

*Total includes Charity Shield games not broken down in the table.

So his best season was 2014/15 when he scored 49% – that is just under one in every two games.  This season he is on 47%, just a little lower.  Not as good as Henry at Arsenal, but better than Henry at Barcelona.

Another factor to consider is that this season six of his nine goals have come after the 70th minute, and they tend to be valuable in securing points, rather than just helping our goal difference along.  So we can remember the goal in the 89th minute at Man U, the equaliser at Bournemouth (derided for not getting the ball back to the centre spot fast enough, when in fact the kick off by Bournemouth afterwards was faster than for the Alexis goal), the winner at Preston (derided because of a comment about Preston’s up and at em approach).

As Mr Wenger said, “What is maybe not acknowledged enough by people, maybe even me, is that Olivier scores important goals.   He equalised at Man United this season [in the 89th minute] with the special header and he scored against West Brom in the 86th minute. He scores goals that have weight in the result of the team.”  The goal against WBA was of course, the winning goal.  That’s the sort of goal that he gets.

Not every player can come on and influence a game – it is a particular skill in itself.  And he is not only doing it now, he did it in 2015, coming into the game fresh as others tire, and immediately picking up the pace and flow of the game – not the easiest of tasks.  If he starts too many games he either gets injured or his form dies.

That is why it is so good to have him in the squad, with the other strikers also available.  He can sit out a few matches waiting for Alexis to burn out, and then either take on the game from the start, or have a run as a sub.    This means he fits in and around the particular fitness and scoring rates of Lucas Perez, Danny Welbeck, and of course Alexis.  It might not be to his liking, but it is what suits Arsenal – let him on when the central defenders are getting knackered, not least because very few managers will substitute a central defender unless they absolutely have to.

Arsenal of course are not a longball team, but they can mix that element into their game when they wish, as at Bournemouth and Preston.  That ability to change styles – the one thing defences don’t like late on – is what Giroud allows Arsenal to do.  It is what Giroud does.

But let us not allow facts and analysis get in the way of good old English haughtiness.  Giroud suffers from the comments of the aaa because he is not English, and being French is thought by British pundits and the aaa (and let’s not forget most of the pundits we have are British pundits – not all but most) to be far too French to be any good.

So when you have Giroud, speaking in his second language, to interviewers who struggle in English even though it is their first language, and he can’t think in his second language what to say to such a damn stupid question as, “were you surprised by the physical nature of Preston’s game?” there is smug sniggering.  He was probably too busy eating garlic to understand that this was the FA Cup.   (And yes, ok, he’s won the FA Cup twice, which is more than some pundits, but can a Frenchie really understand the FA Cup?  I mean really understand!?!).   And so on.

An article in the Telegraph a couple of days back made the point that Giroud “is not a player with a sense of entitlement or assumption that he should be playing at a club like Arsenal. (He) is instead someone who appears genuinely grateful to be playing top-level football, and one who could be perhaps be cut some slack for his failings given he … went from Ligue 2 to Arsenal’s main striker in the space of two years.”

Meanwhile for years the allegation was that Arsenal had no plan B.  Now we utterly obviously have both a Plan B and a set of back up players to execute plan B, the criticism is that the player is too French.  Whether dear old Martin Keown, such a different man in the studio from the man we used to see on the pitch, is right in saying, “it seems the Frenchman is now a crowd favourite,” I am not sure, because there are quite a few members of the crowd who are so convinced of the rightness of the aaa cause they can’t actually recognise the notion of a goal every 73 minutes in the league this season as being rather clever.  As one told me recently, “I can remember Henry scoring three in ten minutes.”

Well, yes. OK.   But I think quite a few of us have a slightly greater grasp of the stats than that.

Untold Arsenal and the Arsenal History Society…

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Refereeing in the Premier League is under investigation, and PGMO have no idea what to do.

10 reasons why Arsenal signed Cohen Bramall (and why no other club bothered)

January 1937: Arsenal unbeaten as the goalkeepers change (again).

Ref Review: Arsenal – Crystal Palace: more of the same please

Football appoints new positivity czar to counter “overly negative” media and pay for football pitches in China

2016-17 Season: The half time review of referees and players, and the top 6 table.

The nine health benefits of playing football, and what to do when you get too old.

Cohen Bramall the new Bellerin (inc film), Belloti and Griezmann on the way. Plus nicked copy – an outrage.

The index of the major articles about Arsenal players is now complete.  It comes in two parts: A to K   and   L to Z        Of course there are many other sources of articles on Arsenal players but I do like to think that the articles here add a lot more detail, and have often found stories and issues that have been missed in other reports.  I do hope you will give us a try.

18 Replies to “Arsenal don’t have a plan B. Well, actually we do. It’s Giroud.”

  1. Who cares anyway,first he is in a bogey team the mighty Arsenal and secondary he is French. Could he have been playing at oldtoilet it could have been another issue afterall there is a French man who was bought in billions of shillings he has scored how many?and nobody dare talk about it!!all animals are not equal….. Animal farm.

  2. A few days ago a united fan in a Facebook group dedicated to football that arsenal fans are giroud’s worst enemies. Although I hate that guy’s anti-arsenak rhetoric, I agreed with him on this point. He believes that giroud is underrated and many rival fans right now would love to have someone like him in the team. It’s ironic that 2 decades ago we had Alan smith, a striker whose main strength was his aerial prowess. Arsenal fans loved him but for the most part a significant portion of the club hasn’t been very favorable towards giroud who is considered to be the new Alan smith

  3. When were Preston North End. on the television?

    BT Sports, with half-a-dozen Winnebagos, turning up at Deepdale, 2 days before the game! 18 cameras, to set up before the match.

    Is it any surprise that the Preston players were determined not to the “sideshow”?

  4. Hmmn. Of course Arsenal have Plan A in Alexis Sanchez, Plan B in Olivier Giroud, Plan C in Mesut Ozil and lastly certainly not the end, Plan C in Danny Welbeck to call upon when they need the Plan.

    So Arsenal are not lacking in the area of the Plans as they have them many in the pecking order within the rank and file of the Gunners team.

    Plan A, B & C aided by other Plans in the team have largely accounted for Arsenal reaching level 41 in first half of the PL 20 games the Gunners team has played so far Arsenal in this season’s PL campaign.

    During the remaining Arsenal’s 18 PL games campaign, Arsenal will involve Plan D in their games at a stage in their campaign to enhance productivity in their campaign result.

    Le Prof may not bring in a top Plan E striker option during this winter window to reinforce the depth of his team fire power as Plan D is now available to do the job an incoming Plan E will be coming to do at Arsenal. Let’s wait and see how these Plans will carry out their jobs for Arsenal as they are now in the descending order in the campaign haven finished climbing up in the ascending order to reach level 41 in their climbing last weekend.

  5. Assuming we are playing a single goalkeeper, 4 defenders, 2+3 midfield and a single striker, I figure Wenger has 40,642,560 plans. But that is just a rough guess.


  6. How can one deride a player like Giroud who provides such artistry. His scorpion kick against Palace was truly a thing of beauty.

  7. OG always displays a very positive attitude , even if he is on the subs bench. I enjoy watching him make mugs of the thugs of the EPL . Often he has to ‘release’ himself from the clutches of those thugs to attack the ball.
    That goal against WBA sticks out as he was being held , but yet he fought out the thug to score .

  8. Sometimes when English is your second or third language , some amount of confusion and misunderstanding often reigns . This tragic story will probably have you thinking , and bring tears to your eyes .
    And it is dedicated to my friend , Menace .

    The Mango Slicer.

    Pedro worked in a fine Goan pickle factory.

    For many years he had a powerful desire to put his penis in the mango slicer.

    Unable to stand it any longer, he sought professional help from the factory psychologist.

    After six months, the therapist gave up. He advised Pedro to go ahead and do it or he would probably never have any peace of mind.

    The next day he came home from work very early. His wife, Tecla, became alarmed and wanted to know what had happened.

    Pedro tearfully confessed his tormenting desire to put his penis in the mango slicer. He went on to explain that today he finally went ahead and did it, and he was immediately fired.

    Tecla gasped and ran over to her husband. She quickly yanked down his pants and shorts only to find a normal, completely intact penis.

    She looked up and said, “I don’t understand. What about the mango slicer?”

    Pedro replied, “She got fired, too.”

    ( I cried too , after first laughing my head off !)

  9. Should’nt the title be:
    “Arsenal don’t have a plan B. Well, actually we do now. It’s Giroud.” 🙂

    Anyway in other news:
    Social media going crazy? Attack on reporters for the false reporting of Ozil’s statements.

  10. Lost in translation –

    Daughter : ” How do you survive without eating , Mom ?”
    Mother : ” I eat all the time , silly .”
    Daughter : ” I overheard Dad tell Uncle Bob that you haven’t swallowed since collage .”

  11. Pleading the Fifth-

    ‘ Maximum truths have been told in bars and pubs , with glass in hand ;
    while maximum lies have been told in courts with holy book in hand .’

  12. Strange picture on .com of the players signing.

    While Coquelin has his pen in his right hand, Koscielny’s is in his LEFT while Giroud’s is in his RIGHT…?

    Any theories?

    Just as well Santi wasn’t extending – would have had to have been holding a pen in BOTH hands!

  13. Pete,

    you noticed the same thing as I.

    As 2 of my 4 children are lefthanders (and footers) and the other 2 righthanded I also found this interesting.
    Giroud being left footed and right writing could mean that at school they have converted him from a left hander to a right handed person. They tried this with my two left handers but stopped as they really couldn’t write with their right hand.

    But Koscielny being a right footed player and then writing left is a bit odd. It can’t be that at school they thought him to be left handed as it still is a bit of a handicap in society to be left handed as most things are made for right handed people.

  14. Walter,

    Obviously the picture is staged… perhaps Laurent and Olivier were just having a bit of a laugh by putting pens in the wrong hand – but Francis wasn’t in on the joke?

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