Giroud In, Lucas Out – The Arsenal Hokey-Cokey Begins

The weekend is upon us and Wearside beckons. Sunderland, rock bottom, and aiming to be the worst team in Premier League history lay in wait.

Premier League history. That sums up everything which is wrong with modern football. It’s not ‘football’s history’, it’s ‘Premier League history’. It makes for easier comparisons, I suppose, given slack-jawed researchers like myself less of a task in finding out ‘useful’ facts with which to pad the daily post.

Makes it easier to gather statistics as well; not too far to go back. That changes retrospectives as well; no longer will a player be remembered as a ‘good crosser of the ball’ or ‘he could ‘it ’em’, future generations will remember a player who bombed down the wing and delivered 4.28 crosses per game or a goal every 3.156 games. Good luck with that one; I’m from the generation which can barely remember their mobile phone number, let alone a bewildering array of decimal points.

Ask me to list the FA Cup winners post-war and I probably could. Still. And without looking it up as well. League champions? A bit rusty but probably most of them for the same time span. European Cup too. UEFA Cup? A bit rusty post 1995 but don’t ask me about the Europa League. If I stick down Sevilla for each year, I’ll get a few right I’m sure.

How will history remember Lucas Perez? Not sure and we won’t find out for about six weeks either, if “sources close to the player” are to be believed. Two of those weeks are lost to the internationals anyway but the Spaniard would have reasonably expected to play in the EFL Cup tie against Southampton as well as featuring in the games in between as a substitute at the very least.

There is always some profit somewhere in such an absence and for Olivier Giroud, it is a faster path back to the first team than he might have ordinarily expected. The Frenchman will most likely feature at some point this weekend, whether it is for Alexis as a late substitute or Alex Iwobi, pushing Alexis to the left, will be the choice for Arsène assuming injury concerns don’t force the issue.

With a hectic schedule of games – Sofia Tuesday, north London derby Saturday – and the international break, there is plenty of opportunity for Giroud to get his match fitness back. It was the bizarrest aspect of this summer that he supposedly came back the unfittest of all the players involved at Euro 2016.

There’s been an undercurrent of frustration on the manager’s part whenever his compatriot’s fitness has been mentioned – not with the question, more the references he makes to Giroud himself. That ought to be in the past but it remains to be seen which Olivier Giroud returns. He certainly looked sharp on Tuesday but a fleeting cameo in an EFL Cup tie isn’t much to measure him by. The first goal – when it comes – will tell us more about his mindset than anything else.

If he wants to force himself back into his manager’s thinking then he’s got to find the net more consistently – the stats are misleading. 24 goals in 54 isn’t bad but think what that might have been without a fifteen match barren run. That’s his issue and this late in his career, one which is hardly likely to go away. Giroud always has a goal drought but last season’s was particularly bad. Spectacularly, even. In an unimpressive kind of way.

I’m not even sure he’ll be given the chance to impress Arsène. Wenger seems comfortable with Alexis leading the line and so far, there’s not been a real reason to change it. The season takes many twists before the final whistle is blown and it’s daft to rule him out permanently. You have to wonder what the media will make of it; Sergio Aguero is linked with a move away from City after two or three games on the bench – yes, we’re interested before you ask – then Giroud must be on the scrap-heap.

Such is modern football; an incessant need for the shiniest new thing.

I hope Giroud does well. If he does, then it follows that Arsenal might as well. I’m just not sure that he’s going to be given the same leeway as before. In fact, I’m certain he won’t. If that’s the motivation he needs, then it’s no bad thing at all.

’til Tomorrow.

46 thoughts on “Giroud In, Lucas Out – The Arsenal Hokey-Cokey Begins

  1. Arsetralian says:

    I feel bad
    I did not even read the blog first
    The shame
    Get to the back of the queue you

  2. Jonnygunner says:

    YW….your body clock’s all over the gaff this week !

  3. nicky says:

    In order for Giroud to succeed, the team must play to his strengths. More head- high crosses than along the ground passes, although on occasion he CAN turn a low ball into a goal in an instant. What he doesn’t do is to dribble and beat a defender a la Alexis. 🙂

  4. YW says:


    Yeah, it’s half-term for the kids this week so the alarm clocks have been turned off!

  5. C says:


    Morning my friend, the team does and has always played to his strengths and its part of the reason why last season we struggled without him because the team and tactics seemed to suit Giroud and only Giroud. With the shift in style of play to better suit our best players, Ozil and Sanchez, I wonder how Giroud will fit in this late in his career.

  6. Duke says:

    I think by late tomorrow afternoon we might be in realisation of what sort of season it will be for us. We really need a win now after the borough draw, if we struggle again than we could be finding ourselves in one of our infamous poor runs. These are the fixtures we should be eating up.

    Having looked at our results this season whilst the divas are doing barn dances at our stern defence and clean sheets the more astute will say the list of fixtures have been kind to say the least. Whilst the borough draw isn’t a disaster it along with the treatment room doors starting to swing does bare the hallmark of the start of our poor runs. But let’s all do a rain dance and hope this season this team will be different.

  7. Damon says:

    Total collapse from the Bangladeshi’s. Splendid stuff!

  8. Damon says:

    Bangladesh have lost their last nine wickets for 49 in 22.5 overs

  9. Dukey says:

    What is the fukin point of Gary bloody Balance. Useless.

  10. C says:

    It is a shame about Perez though, you could see the quality was there .

  11. Limestonegunner says:

    Good morning Yogi and all. I would love to see Aguero in Arsenal red and white! I think both Perez and Xhaka have not played quite as much as I would have expected. I hope the idea is for them to adapt without too much expected rather than that they aren’t of the quality to start regularly. As far as OG, I think rotating him to start every so often to give a rest or because the matchup is more favorable is fine, but I prefer very much how we have played with a mobile attack. So I’d like to see him on the bench as a late option typically. I think the real consideration is Iwobi and Theo vs Perez. Right now those three fighting for two spots in front 4. If Iwobi starts scoring and defends a little better, he’ll keep playing.

  12. Limestonegunner says:


    Much wisdom here Dukey. Like City, we have had a good run and some kind fixtures. Chelsea was a legitimately good match. I think in November we’ll see what our chances are v Spuds and MU.

  13. jonnygunner says:

    Much as this seems a contradiction in terms….I think even when Giroud was scoring ,he stull wasn’t the answer to our prayers up front.
    I reckon his dry spell was a blessing in disguise,without which there wouldn’t have been any changes in the camp.
    I think mentally he’s harder than he’s given credit for-I think he’s a fighter.Even the French fans have berrated him at International games(even when he’s been scoring)-which is pretty fucking shameful on their part.After all that he just gets on with it-I think it timely he’s injured his toe and been ‘introduced’ gradually.
    He gets off on being the underdog,and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on a tidy run.

  14. Ian says:

    Why do I have a bad feeling about tomorrows match…

    Tell me its just me being silly and that we will win convincingly!!!!

  15. Limestonegunner says:


    It’s the Arsenal/-how can we tell you that?! But coming back from a relatively poor performance would be a good sign. By his is a decent team, does it have the right mentality? I think we will know more in 3 weeks.

  16. Wailesy says:

    I believe in Giroud too Jonny. He’s had some absolute shockers. That night v Monaco springs to mind. But we all have shockers don’t we. Fortunately not in front of 60,000 furious fans for most of us.
    We’ve been very lucky to get the points we’re on so far barring Chelsea and even Luckier to get the point against borough last week. Saturday’s game is a game we should all expect to win ( I’m not sure exactly why) though like most I won’t be at all surprised if we come away with nothing.
    That’s football.

  17. Ian says:

    I think the fact that its a Saturday lunchtime KO is the thing that fills me with dread….

  18. Damon says:

    I think the fact that its a Saturday lunchtime KO is the thing that fills me with dread….


  19. C says:

    I also wonder how Ramsey is going to fit into the team.

  20. silvergunner says:

    Afternoon YW and all fellow ACLF’S readers I am so gutted for Perez hope he comes back fireing on all cylinders.
    Giroud I dare say will feel he has a point to prove and I hope plays out of his skin if selected.

  21. nicky says:

    You are maligning Gary Ballance . Like Adam Lyth before him, both simply try too hard at Test level.. Their County stats though, speak for both of them.
    As for the current Test, the wicket will never last 5 days. It was prepared specially for spinners and will break up soon. It’ll be a low-scoring shambles.
    Trust me. 😉

  22. HenryB says:

    Trust you, Nicky, Nicholas, are you sure?

    I am positive I met you once on Southend Pier doing the three card find the Lady/Queen game.
    Was it you? 😀

  23. Buckagh says:

    Sunderlands priority tomorrow is not to lose so they’ll likely park the bus and hope for a breakaway to score. I think Moyes has lost the the trust of his players with his constant blame pointing interviews, and this is one we should stamp some authority on and get a good result. COYG

  24. C says:

    So with Santi still out, that means we will see Le Coq/Elneny, wonder what people will say……..

  25. Duke says:

    Expect a slow build up tika taki struggle then…

  26. captain senderos says:

    from arsene updates, monreal, cazorla and Walcott maybe out tomorrow…… so maybe…the line up may involve Gibbs, el eneny, and oxlade Chamberlain playing right wing

  27. C says:


    Figured either you or Bill would go first. Doubt it but okay.

  28. Duke says:

    The proof will be in the pudding, C, if Elneny is as good as you say he is then he should make missing cazorla not seem too discomforting. Already he didn’t do the bizz v Borough, so he needs to against the wearysiders. If we struggle tomorrow this season could get ugly. This Sunderland team is as piss a poor a side as you’ll likely see in the prem, coupled with a busted flush in charge…anything other than a good win good spell impending doom…

  29. captain senderos says:

    Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Girioud are on the bench……hope the guys win….cost 1st to 4th are separated by just a point….it is really tight at the top

  30. C says:


    True, but then again, Santi didn’t light it up against Burnley now did he? If you get a chance, just focus on Elneny for portions if the match and you might be surprised at how he isn’t static nor is the tempo or his play slow. I’d be interested to see how people respond if we score goals but its more a professional day at the office: score a couple goals and then see out the game but not really putting then to the sword.

  31. silvergunner says:

    Hope Walcott is only a precautionary absence if he is out but perhaps Ox is finding some form finally.
    c I like Elneny but against a parked bus we will need his passing to be accurate and insisive.

  32. buckagh says:


    If We can’t beat this lot tomorrow, with whatever the pairing in midfield is, it doesn’t bode well for our supposed title challenge, the jury is still out on Elneney for me but he does need to do more as do a few others

  33. Orson Kaert says:

    captain senderos,

    I think Wenger actually said something like Ramsey is available for selection, he hasn’t played at all, and has only been with the squad for one week.

    If that is the case, there’s no way he’s going to be on the bench tomorrow. Twenty minutes against Ludogorets maybe. But even that would be pushing it a bit.

  34. C says:


    It generally is.

    I agree about Theo, maybe give Ox a run out but maybe its nothing and just soreness after training.

  35. C says:


    Yea we should be able to. Jury is still out on Elneny for quite a few but he will continue to just go about his business. I would just say, spend a period of time watching him and its interesting to see the difference between what people are saying and what is actually taking place.

  36. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Wonder how Ramsey is going to fit into this squad? Are subs have generally been: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Le Coq or Xhaka or Elneny, Ox, Perez(now Giroud) so does Arsene go RB with Jenks or Ramsey in midfield. With Xhaka suspended and Santi likely missing he will make the bench but moving forward it will be interesting to watch.

  37. Orson Kaert says:


    With a more or less fully fit squad, I can’t see where Ramsey fits in. He can be a back up for Santi, but he doesn’t have the vision to play that role, perhaps he will have to reinvent himself a la Walcott.

  38. buckagh says:

    Like he realizes that he’s wasted 10 years achieved nothing major that a move away from Arsenal would be a down grade that’s difference I see in The, better late than never

  39. Duke says:

    Don’t worry Ramsey will be back in. I think we are better off with him in the middle with le coq or Elneny than both Le coq and Elneny. The le coq Elneny double act fills me with dread. This pairing should only be wheeled out in emergencies or against top sides if we don’t mind getting a draw.

  40. Wavey says:


    I starting to side with Dukey on the Elneny/LeCoq pairing. Not that it fills me with dread, more that it seems to suit a game where we can expect pressure from the opposition. Elneny is a more dynamic version of LeCoq, but is still largely a CDM. Injury and bans have left us where we are, but these would normally be the games where we would have more of a playmaker alongside a CDM and that isn’t really Elneny. I think he is really good player and sometimes he is exactly what is needed, but alongside LeCoq against a struggling Sunderland isn’t one of those games. Unfortunately it’s out of AW’s hands, unless he decides to risk Ramsey it will be Elneny/LeCoq from the start. If he were feeling brave he could stick Iwobi or Ox in the middle instead, but even against Sunderland that is a pretty big risk.

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