On Giroud, Alexis & The Premier League Screws Fans Again

So it goes on. International football this week with World Cup Qualifiers, friendlies and whatever you class the Confederations Cup as.

Comedy galore when Hugo Lloris gifted Sweden three points in a match played with all the intensity of post-season friendly. Olivier Giroud took the headlines with an outstanding goal which made his record something like 124 goals in 124 starts for his country.

It’s used as a justification for keeping Giroud at Arsenal. Conveniently, that record does nothing to explain why the French international has prolonged barren spells; was the last fourteen games? It’s no surprise that he’s made way in the Arsenal team.

Yes, he did well in the FA Cup final when he came on; everyone played well as a benchmark. And there’s no doubt, he offers something different to the pace we usually try to use. However, if Danny Welbeck found a way to score consistently, Giroud’s path to the starting line-up becomes harder.

The question became something to consider when rumours of a £20m(ish) bid from Marseille or Newcastle surfaced. Giroud is 31 in September – he’s still 30 for the moment – and the question is whether that money is a good fee for him?

Arguably it’s £5m to low but we don’t set the levels, clubs do. There’s a danger that we place too much importance of the fees paid by the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea. There’s a ‘tax’ involved in their deals, where selling clubs know the wealth backing the pair so hike the prices.

The real world continues along elsewhere. It’s why I pay no heed to stories telling us Alexis is off to Bayern or Manchester City for £40m. If that’s the level of fee being offered, then holding onto the player for another year – as Arsène wants – is not a bad idea.

Setting The Fee? A Trifling Matter

Wenger, of course, was being ‘cute’. He’s put the board in an invidious position whereby any sale of Alexis is easily positioned as the directors selling the player, not the manager.

And that’s irrespective of the truth; no sale would happen with Arsène’s approval. It’s the story tame journos will post for him and the club can’t fight back without making Wenger’s position impossible. The directors don’t have the balls for that fight.

The Chilean grabbed an assist in his country’s draw with Russia in Moscow last night. Earlier in the day, claims emerged that his agent had agreed personal terms with Manchester City. Just a fee with Arsenal to negotiate, apparently.

That part of any deal is quickly becoming seen as an incidental by the ravenous desire of the media who presume that a transfer will proceed simply because personal terms are agreed. Maybe it is; maybe that financial power means they take the view, ‘you won’t take £40m, here’s £50m. No? £60m – we can do this for hours’.

It’s distorting but as I said, includes a premium. Other fees aren’t noticeably higher but it is a more crowded marketplace for us. We don’t shop with Europe’s élite but the nouveau riche are elbowing their way into Waitrose.

Elsewhere, the Premier League flicked its middle finger at supporters again with talk of 22 matches kicking off at 11.30am on Sunday to suit the Asian ‘market’. Starting in 2019, this is on top of the already screwed fixture list.

You may wonder why the fuss? English football has a long tradition of travelling support which Woolwich Arsenal fans were pivotal in instigating – see Woolwich Arsenal: 1893-1915: The Club That Changed Football for more details.

De-railing Supporters Once Again

Reducing the travelling support will change atmosphere’s in stadia. Public transport in the UK makes these journeys difficult to the point where, unless you drive to a match, it’s pretty pointless trying unless the kick-off is 3pm Saturday. Which reducing numbers are.

Years ago, we were OK. Yes, the service was crap but it ran to suit passengers rather than the latter being required to adjust their lives for the service. Midweek travel is appalling now unless you live in a Home Counties hub. God knows how many times the ‘milk train’ meant I could get home and go to work for 9am.

It’s a different world now, of course, but not all changes are for the better. The Premier League is wrapped up in making money that it forgets that football without fans doesn’t work. Football played in a library atmosphere will kill the sport. And where will their money get them then?

Finally, a reminder that the Record of the Week on Dad’s Jukebox is the outstanding Waiting on a Song by Dan Auerbach.

’til Tomorrow.

61 thoughts on “On Giroud, Alexis & The Premier League Screws Fans Again

  1. In case I miss you later, C, I need some info on the latest midfielder we have been linked to – an unknown (to me) 21 y.o. called Golovin from CSKA.

    What’s he like? Is he worth the $12m we are told (in the rumour) he will cost, and why do we need him?

    Come along Oracle, we need to know. 😀

  2. Afternoon,

    Another thrilling international weekend. Scotland vs England does perhaps raise the interest a bit, but the gulf in class between the two national teams is huge. It does mean that England have a chance of slipping up, but that’s usually left to the tournaments rather than the qualifying rounds.

    On transfers, I really don’t see us buying a new striker unless one of our existing strikers goes and my preference would be for it to be Giroud even though he scores more than Welbeck. If it’s Alexis who goes I’m not sure we would buy a forward of the class to replace him, so I’m assuming we will be even less competitive than last season. At least Wenger’s at the helm to see us through. Wait a minute, he was the one who got us into this situation in the first place.

  3. HenryB,

    I saw that and it actually made me a bit pissed off to be honest, he is the “type” of midfielder we have been discussing that we need in a tough tackling, high work rate, the ability to link quickly defense to attack but also is capable of playing “that” pass but from the little I do know about him, it seems like instead of spending the 20m+ for a player likes of Tolisso, Seri, Fornals, Goretzka, Rabiot or that lot; Arsene is going the “Arsene” route. Honestly, I don’t see the point in buying him because Elneny is a better player.

  4. Great post Yogi

    Giroud is almost universally hated on our blog and I certainly understand. I have probably been his biggest critic over the years. However, if we are going to be honest we have to admit that he had a very good year. He was our second leading scorer with 12 league goals in very limited minutes. No way we come in 5th without him. His goal scoring efficiency was excellent and he scored several important goals. No way he is good enough to be our regular starter but he was excellent this season as an impact sub which is where his role should be next season. If he won’t accept a limited role and limited minutes then he should be sold.

  5. Honestly, I don’t care about Giroud’s goal scoring record for France, I mean look at Sanchez’s CF partner for Chile, Vargas. For country he has been scoring goals:
    2013 – 12 app, 9 goals
    2014 – 12 app, 7 goals
    2014 – 12 app 7 goals
    2015 – 13 app 7 goals
    2016 – 14 app 7 goals
    Yet for club he is rather shit to be honest. Giroud for me is a good country goal scorer but for club, he is “meh”. I could care less about how many you score for country (well unless your Brasilian then we need the goals) but I want to know how many you score for Arsenal.

  6. Giroud had a great season for us. That is exactly how he should be used. The problem is that Welbeck doesn’t score enough at that position. But someone like him who is mobile and can score more often would be perfect. In that scenario Welbeck is a back up who can also play across the front while OG is a different option tactically in CF.

    Someone like Aubameyang. We can dream anyway. But oddly PSG is balking at 70m€, which is 61m£, I think. That is actually not an outrageous fee for a prolific, top European striker at 27/28 years of age. Why wouldn’t PSG snap him up?

  7. C

    I agree, international scoring records often are not indicative of how a player will perform in club football. International and club football seem to be different for some reason. However, you certainly make a big deal about international scoring records when its a player you like. 🙂

  8. Bill,

    Like who? The only player whose goal scoring record I bring up is Theo’s and he has done a pretty goos job for us as a winger scoring goals, no? Got benched for the last third of the season for Giroud and yet Theo still finished as the club’s 2nd leading goal scorer.

  9. Limestonegunner,

    Wonder if part of it is because they still have Jese on the books who is quality and just spent a bit on Draxler and with Aubameyang they would more than likely lose one or both of Lucas Moura and/or Di Maria.

  10. I think Giroud and Welbeck should go in the Bogoff bin. Buy one, get one for free.

    Giroud is slow and static but gets a few goals, Welbeck has pace and movement but hardly scores at all.

  11. A big part of the problem with using international performances and records to evaluate a players is that so many of the games are either meaningless or against weak opponents. It means nothing if Giroud scores a hat trick against outer western slope Mongolia in a friendly.

    The same thing is true to a lesser degree when we compare players records for their club in all competitions. A hat trick in a game vs Ludogrets that we won 6-0 or against a League 2 opponent in the league cup does nothing but artificially pad stats. Danny Welbeck scored a nice hat trick against Galatasary early in his Arsenal career which was certainly not an indication of things to come. Almost every game in the 38 game league season is a high leverage game and the league scoring record is a much better gauge of how well a player is performing.

  12. If we keep Ozil then its clear that we need players who are good at heading the ball and a threat on set pieces. Ozil has not had very many assists in the last 18 months but If you analyze the ones he has the vast majority are headed goals and set pieces. He has almost no assists on goals that Sanchez or Walcott scored. It seems his final balls are now much more when he can deliver his passes in the air rather then on the ground.

  13. Bill,

    I would agree if i thought Wenger would bring in another striker and keep Giroud, but I don’t think he will. I think Wenger sees both Giroud and Welbeck staying which means a new forward only comes in if Alexis goes and we don’t really add to our goal scoring options. I think the signing of Perez last summer made it pretty clear. For a manager who loves attacking football he has shown a continued reluctance to buy a forward capable of finishing the chances off. When he bought Alexis he didn’t expect him to be a big goal scorer which suggests he wanted supply lines into the forwards we already had. Wenger has continued to rate Welbeck and Giroud much more highly than the standard they have actually played to. Whilst both are useful and Giroud has provided goals (along with extended barren periods), one of them really has to go to allow us to sign a better CF. Hopefully Wenger only promises Giroud more of the same as last season and he agitates for a move.

  14. Bill,


    Exactly my thinking Wavey, I think even on Theo’s goals he might not be providing that final ball but he is the one more often than not playing that pass to, say Sanchez who is playing that one touch ball into Theo. This season we have seen much more of Ozil as the player either providing the hockey assist or the one starting the move by playing Sanchez into space and then letting Sanchez do his thing. I would venture to say with a player like Aubameyang or if Welbeck could score more goals we would see more of those through balls and balls played on the ground.

  15. Bill:

    I agree, international scoring records often are not indicative of how a player will perform in club football. International and club football seem to be different for some reason. However,you certainly make a big deal about international scoring records when its a player you like.

    Bill got you there, C. 😀

  16. C:

    I saw that and it actually made me a bit pissed off to be honest, he is the “type” of midfielder we have been discussing that we need in a tough tackling, high work rate, the ability to link quickly defense to attack but also is capable of playing “that” pass but from the little I do know about him, it seems like instead of spending the 20m+ for a player likes of Tolisso, Seri, Fornals, Goretzka, Rabiot or that lot; Arsene is going the “Arsene” route. Honestly, I don’t see the point in buying him because Elneny is a better player.

    I do not know what Elneney has done to be given the frozen shoulder, C, like you I think he is a neat, energetic midfielder who never lets the side down.

  17. HenryB,

    Its generally only Theo I bang on about. 😉

    Yea, not sure what Elneny has done, when you actually look at when he plays he performs for the club and does his job consistently and effectively. Part of I think most supporters problems with him are that he came to us with a sort of “pass, never lose possession” type of label and most equate that to being a possession player but all to often him keeping possession is quickly getting the ball forward or playing himself out of a jam. Its funny, people tend to forget just how good he was for us when he arrived and just how steady he was for us throughout the season.

  18. I see odds have been slashed on Pickford joining Arsenal. If we were to spend 20-30m on him and then sell Sczcney to Juve, I would have to say I would be over the top pissed off for obvious reasons. It would make ABSOLUTELY no sense at all because it means that a goal scoring CF or striker isn’t happening and if Juve thinks Sczcney is good enough then surely he is good enough for Arsenal.

  19. Got to say though, he scored an absolute beauty against Sweden. If he were able to do that more often I would happily have him as our first choice CF. For his country he’s always up for it, but at Arsenal he only lifts his game when his position is threatened. If he would get his arse in gear more and make the effort on the pitch he would deserve to be in the starting line up every week.

  20. C,

    I hope we do not go for Pickford. I know I always sound size-ist but at 6′ 1/2″ he is very small for a keeper. Stuff it – Chezzer is probably more skilful and far more experienced – and oh, he is also 6′ 5 1/4″.

    With the increasing size of centre forwards a small keeper is a no-no!

    Guess that means we will get him! 😵

  21. HenryB,

    That is exactly my thinking not to mention, to me it feels like Mignolet or Begovic all over again; sorry I don’t want either and NEITHER are half as good as Sczcney and neither is Pickford. Sczcney isn’t just a bigger more skillful GK, but he has also the last 2 seasons been in a legit title race until the closing weeks.

    Also, his distribution is good to really good and for a club that values possession, don’t you want a GK that can get the ball to our players, sorry from what I have seen Pickford doesn’t and its one of my biggest gripes with Cech.

  22. YW,

    Tend to agree with you Yogi, problem is he can’t stay fit.

    Plus, if Juve wants Sczcney then he obviously must be good enough for Arsenal.

  23. I also don’t understand why we would let Chris Willock’s contract run down especially since he is probably one of our best prospects. With the likes of Dortmund, Citeh, Everton all chasing his signature; I could see him possibly leaving and heading to say Dortmund but hopefully he will stay.

  24. It’s a strange one, C. Although from memory, his brother moved to United so perhaps it’s seen as a family reunion as they’d both live in the same city?

  25. C,

    > if Juve wants Sczcney then he obviously must be good enough for Arsenal.

    I don’t think AW will ever trust him again after the fags in the showers episode.

  26. Just realised ‘fags in the shower’ has a different meaning in US. ‘Cigarettes in the shower’ works better!

  27. YW,

    the Willock thing is strange but you could be right. Personally I think the lad could go to Dortmund and do for them next season what Dembele and Pulsic have this season.

  28. YW,

    “fags in the shower” does have a different meaning here, luckily I have been chatting with you lot long enough to know the difference!

    If that is the case then surely there is no way back for Jack either after multiple instances? I don’t care if Sczcney smoked in the shower, if he is quality and can help Arsenal, especially as a GK, then we keep him. I mean he is 28 years old and is set to enter his prime as a GK, makes no sense.

  29. Milk Train – that takes me back. Used to jump on them in the wee small hours. Mail Trains too, in the guard’s carriage. I doubt either exist any more.

    Once got a lift from a train stopped in a station. “Take you to whatever station you want lads, direct. Jump on!”

  30. C,

    Strange he’s been painted with that brush. Fractured his ankle in early 2016 and had to have further surgery on it this season, but appears to be back to full fitness now. Definitely one of the best young keepers I’ve seen. Saw footage of him and Hart together in England training a couple of years ago and Butland is miles better.

  31. Wavey,

    No doubt he is a good young GK when fit, but we have a GK that is coming off back to back consistent and quality seasons, bleeds Arsenal (strange people constantly talking about wanting players who are Arsenal and Sczcney certainly while not English, fits that category), has matured and has openly talked about wanting the #1 while at Roma. Mine as well keep him, give him a new contract and what money for the transfer of a GK was going to be spent can be spent on a CF.

  32. Wavey:

    Because Giroud doesn’t usually make the runs in the box to get on the end of balls along the ground.


    Blaming Giroud for Ozil’s decrease in assists in the last 18 months makes absolutely no sense. Giroud only played 1200 minutes this season and a lot of those minutes were during the Christmas period when Ozil not playing while he was taking his winter break. On the other hand Ozil has almost no assists which have come on goals that were scored by Alexis or Walcott who are the players that we think of making runs.

    Almost all of ozil’s assists in the last 18 months have been on headed balls where he can deliver the final ball in the air. A huge percentage are on set pieces where Ozil has no pressure and has time to deliver the ball to the head of one of our taller players.

  33. I suspect that returning to Arsenal is the last thing on Szczesny’s mind, he must know he will be on the bench for most of the season and that Wenger just doesn’t trust him. The money may be good, but regular game time is worth more at his age.

  34. Despite Girond’s limited minutes, 3 of Ozil’s assists this season were on goals by Giroud on headers from set pieces or open play, 2 assists were on goals by Mustafi on set pieces. Despite all the minutes they played together and all of the goals that Alexis scored, only 2 Ozil assists came on goals by Alexis and 1 on a goal by Walcott.

  35. Bill,

    I didnt say that at all Bill. You have jumped to an assumption there. I was responding to you saying that the majority of Ozil’s assists are for headed goals. Giroud isn’t very mobile in the box, so balls in usually have to be his head to pick him out. If Ozil has been used to sending a ball in for the box for a player to head its no surprise that he gets into a routine of sticking those kind of balls into the box. I never went anywhere near the subject of how many assists he provided. I do think he has been more influential in providing the ball before a knock down, or similar which has ultimately provided the assist.

  36. Bill,

    I think there where a few occassions where an Alexis assist came from an Ozil ball. I agree that he should provide more direct assists and goals, but he has been influential in providing the ball for the assist to come from.

  37. Wavey:

    Ozil soon be moving into his 30’s. I think that in the last couple years his assist totals certainly argue that his ability to positively affect on the game has waned somewhat. The one place he still excels is his ability to deliver dead balls and in order to get the best of him we need to have players who are good on set pieces and on head high crosses into the box.

  38. The reason we bought Ozil was to provide hang around in the final 1/3 and provide those killer final balls that we can turn into goals. The idea that he has changed his focus from creating assists to providing the pre-assist and no longer focusing on the final pass seems like a real stretch.

  39. There is a lot more pressure on the ball and the defense works harder and concentrates more when we have the ball in the final 1/3 and you have to think and move more quickly. As a player gets older their reactions and ability to do things quickly starts to fade.

  40. Regarding Szczeney. Gibbs is leaving, so if an English player leaves they have to be replaced by another English player (Pickford), to keep the home grown numbers up. I’m not sure, but that’s what it looks like.

  41. Bill,

    Actually I did watch a round up video of his performances this season on YouTube and he does seem to do a lot of work further back. Most of his deliveries have been coming from out wide to runners in the channels, or from the middle of the park to players ahead of him. It doesn’t seem to be that much of a stretch.

  42. Bill,

    It doesn’t stack up nicely in the stats and know how you like to focus on being able to have evidence in goals, or assists. I think I did hear of one stat though which indicated that Ozil created the most goal scoring opportunities.

  43. Wavey,

    The funny thing is and I will continue to bang on about it until I turn blue (I’m dark skinned so I can bang on about it for some time) in the face; we have missed Santi tremendously, no players more than Ozil and Sanchez, but Ozil has been droppong deeper more often and dictating, especially now with Ramsey bombing forward, so his assist stats might suffer but he is making the pass to create the assist or is the one playing the pass to free Sanchez to let him be Sanchez. Funny thing is, I can point to about 5 chances when Ozil set up a teammate and they cocked up the chance; I mean Ramsey alone had 2 in the NLD: one at the top of the box where he tried to side foot it and the other inside the box where he shot it wide, both chances Ramsey was open and with his perceived quality should have done scored.

  44. It looks like it’s time I give this site a wide berth. It’s just so depressing and so grim. I get it that you’ve got a few issues with the club, but seriously you becoming a parody of a know-it-all fan. You are now a fully fledged member of the anti-arsenal purveyors of negativity. Well done!
    Your unremitting negativity plays well with some of your crowd, but if you strip away the overblown language and pretensions of specialist knowledge, you are left with an archetype pundit – utterly clueless.

  45. Michael,

    I’d love to see that too. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a rational argument put forward as opposed to vacuous sound bites, insults and nonsense?

  46. King2,

    It’s not all grim – for example your last post gave me one the biggest laughs I’ve had for ages!! 😂😂😂😂

  47. OK, I’ve recovered from the biting critique of the site and mused on the thought of being a purveyor of negativity. The problem is, as Arsene said, I don’t know what that is. Do I own a shop selling self-unhelp books? I’ve got a good stock of remedies which are bloody useless at curing hangovers, I can tell you that.

    What was Reggie Perrin’s empire called? Grot? I think he had a plan…

    Anyone, off to write today’s sermon of joy.

  48. Wavey,

    Hi Wavey

    I believe the stat you are looking for is “key passes”.

    That refers to the pass that created the opportunity for the assist and goal.

  49. Not sure why people come on here to post that they aren’t coming on here anymore. Perfect example of an oxymoron.
    I must admit that I don’t remember many posts by King2. Do you think he’s checking on the site to see if anyone has replied, or maybe he’s just had a drop the mike moment?

  50. MikeSA,

    That’s the one. Didn’t Ozil make a PL record number of key passes against Sunderland this season? It may have only been Sunderland, but no one else has managed 12 key passes in one game.

  51. Well done to the England U20s – World Champions

    Maitland-Niles had a useful cameo in the last few minutes including doing an excellent job of tracking the Venezuelan winger in added time to ensure they only had a corner. Commentators announced that Wenger has stated Maitland-Niles will be a part of the first team next season.

  52. — “Anyone, off to write today’s sermon of joy.” well we hope it is you, YW. n’est-ce pas? 🙂

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