Sweet, FA & Olivier Giroud – Out Of His Comfort Zone

Never let it be said that the FA isn’t quick to act. The prospect of retrospective action over diving is welcome and struck a chord watching a Robert Pires ‘legend’ special last night. When I think back to the hounding he got for the ‘poor balance’ he suffered when he first arrived in England…

Contrast the grief he got for the Portsmouth game to the almost blase dismissal of Robert Snodgrass’ similar transgression earlier this season; latent xenophobia in the media then or just resignation about the incidents now? A bit of both, I think.

Whether the FA actually do anything about it is another matter. The obvious danger is that it opens a divide faster than Brexit between ourselves and footballing cultures where there is more tolerance of theatrics. Given football is already heading down the path of WWE or whatever acronym the wrestling goes by, I’m surprised anyone’s bothered by diving.

On the subject of the FA, the one remaining chance of silverware takes us to Southampton in the fourth round. Premier League opposition changes the stakes somewhat, particularly on a ground where we have a poor recent record. Fielding a weakened side at Preston was, given the fixtures, an idea which everyone agreed with. It nearly backfired, but we got away with a much-improved second half performance. Fielding it at Southampton who are unlikely to reciprocate, seems more suicidal, something of which Arsène is no doubt aware.

Olivier Giroud – Out Of His Comfort Zone

Speaking to the club magazine, the initial part of the interview reflected his view on being left out of the side as last season’s title challenge collapsed. He admitted that a lack of competition for his place in the side previously was the problem. “Obviously, it helps to motivate you because when you are in your comfort zone, I think you maybe don’t give your best.” When the club is constantly linked with new strikers, “it helps sometimes to have speculation like that, to prove that you deserve your place in the team,” he continued.

It’s a similar theme that he warmed to when Luis Suarez was the subject of our attentions. That came after Gonzalo Higuain was all but signed – re-read the interview Rafa Benitez gave before the Napoli Champions League tie for his angle on events – before our heads were turned by the Uruguayan. Giroud welcomed him joining. Suarez he reasoned, wasn’t a threat to his place in the side. Indeed, he felt the pair would form an outstanding partnership. Higuain? Giroud freely admitted he worried about the prospect of him signing. Higuain, he said, would take his place in the side; they were the same type of player.

It never came to pass and while he may dismiss it as “part of the job,” he is more vulnerable than most because of the lack of consistency in goalscoring. Giroud will grab 18 – 20 goals per season but as we saw in spring 2016, he’s capable of going 14 or 15 games without scoring. Arsenal, with their title pretensions, can’t afford to have that sort of inconsistency from their lead striker, especially when one of our greatest failings over the past decade has been a lack of goals from midfield.

Ollie & Self-Awarness

Giroud is well aware of that point. Tellingly – and with an equally oblivious eye – he argued, “Consistency is my target. Always getting better and better.”  As a player, I think he is. That stems from his performances for France last summer where he was a catalyst for his country. The delayed return this season didn’t help him but allowed Alexis to shine. Giroud is in good form at the moment and I’m enjoying it, even his Eric and Ern moment (in hindsight) but there’s a caveat: I’m waiting for it to end.

No player scores in every game or an average of a goal every game unless they are too good for the league they are playing in or, are either Messi or Ronaldo. Giroud will stop scoring but it’s question of how quickly that is recognised in the team selection. Does Arsène give him one game, two, three? At what point does he switch strikers? That’s the £8m per year question.

Giroud is confident in himself, as ever,

“I know what I can do, I’m pleased with what I have achieved so far but I really want to carry on and I’m sure I can still improve myself. I try to work on it every day to help the team to reach our aims and to win this league.” 

Ollie Believes

In broad brush terms, that is all you can ask but the reality is a striker has to score. I hate goal stats which, for example, tell me that a striker has four goals in six games but omit he grabbed a hat-trick in one match or has two braces in that run. It’s a true stat but tells you nothing of use. Giroud is a player who suits that kind of stat. Last season he scored 24 in 53 games yet drew a blank in 15? Guess which figure the stat doesn’t reflect.

Giroud is a good player but as a lead striker, he’s a Plan B. The alternative who plays depending on the opposition, as he proved against West Brom and Palace. Once he starts scoring, keep him in the side until he hits the wall. Drop him to re-motivate him, that’s the answer. And in the modern game, it cuts him out as little different from most strikers as big clubs. The ones who are better than he? Out of our reach, financially.

’til Tomorrow.

39 thoughts on “Sweet, FA & Olivier Giroud – Out Of His Comfort Zone

  1. C says:

    So I guess the breakfast talk is over and you have provided us with quite a lunch there Yogi!

    The problem I have with Giroud isn’t consistency, but the fact that he openly admits that without competition for his place he can lack motivation; WTF!!! His competition should be a desire to be the best striker in the PL and score the most goals for his club plain and simple. Arrsene chasing a striker is proof that Arsene wants a world class striker but his inability to deliver one is at best a headscratcher. Imagine if we sign Higuain, no way he goes 14 or 15 matches without a goal and we win the PL last season. For all the talk of playing Giroud when he is in one of his purple patches, He is a striker that generally should be a #2, a player that is brought on or start the odd match but not a regular in the PL given his inability to produce regularly.

  2. Bill says:

    Thanks for the post yogi

    We should have bought a better CF long ago. How many clubs win big trophies when their leading scorer in league goals scores in the mid teens? We needed someone better. Higuain or Suarez would have made a huge difference.

  3. Wavey says:

    C,

    I recall that at the time there were many Arsenal fans who were unimpressed with Higuain. Many had the view that he wasn’t much of an upgrade over Giroud and therefore wouldn’t be worth the money. I felt he was much more mobile than Giroud even though he didn’t have much more pace and that he would get us more goals. He was pretty much going head to head with Benzema, but someone had to go when both had ambitions to be number one CF. Higuain showed more willingness to play his trade elsewhere in search of game time and Madrid seemed to prefer the Frenchman. He may well have eventually pushed Giroud out at Arsenal, but that would surely had meant that he was scoring more.

  4. HenryB says:

    We shoulda, coulda, woulda — how very ….. Bill. 🙂

    You might find life more comfortable and understandable Bill if you stopped looking behind you, and looked forward instead. The future is out there in front of us – the past is history.

    Higuain? Suarez? oh, come on — there was never any hope of Arsenal buying those two, especially not Suarez from ‘Pool, or do you have secret (or not so secret) provable inside information not available to the rest of us? or will you just tell us to look back at the non-existent archives? 😀

    All replies to C – I do not have the stamina.

  5. HenryB says:

    Sorry, Bill, I missed out the bit that I agree with you that we coulda, shoulda, woulda bought a Thierry Henry type of CF — but that was and still is pie in the sky, I guess. 🙂

  6. HenryB says:

    Interesting Post Yogi and shows a great commitment to the blogging hoi polo. 🙂

    Good Ollie was certainly an upgrade on Chamakh – but many think he is not a big enough upgrade, but without his goals I think AW would already have gone ……. oops, wait a minute ……. maybe that is what you meant. We should maybe have set our caps on the unspoken one, Sanogols, Doh. 😉

  7. C says:

    Wavey,

    O trust mate, I remember getting into quite a few disagreements about Higuain and what he could bring. The fact that only Ronaldo and Messi at the time had more goals since he had arrived in La Liga despite being 2nd choice should have had Arsenal supporters drooling but it was quite the opposite. With Higuain its not the pace but his natural instincts and quickness not to mention he is the very definition of a lethal striker. Pair him with Ozil and we would have walked the PL last season, pair him with Ozil and Sanchez and we could challenge or atleast put up a better fight in Europe. His arrival paired with Ozil would have shifted the club massively.

  8. Welsh Corgi Cardigan says:

    Evening, seems like all is well in the Kingdom of Yogi?.

    I’m sort wondering when Theos back as he and Bellerin were quite a formidable right side as well as Theo combining with Alexis.

    Might even go as far as saying that maybe his absence is a reason why Giroud is starting? Just maybe and not really thought it through?.

  9. Orson Kaert says:

    It’s good to get back to football talk, but is anyone interested in discussing the merits of steak and kidney pie as opposed to lasagne?

  10. Orson Kaert says:

    Sorry folks I shouldn’t have brought that subject up, but my excuse is the consumption of half a bottle of very nice Merlot……with a superb steak and kidney pie.

  11. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Not sure what kidney pie is but a good to great steak is ALWAYS acceptable no matter the time of day.

  12. HenryB says:

    A Kate and Siddeley pie is far better than just a Kate pie.

    Just for the record I prefer the cooked pie to cool and then eat it — hot? not. 😀

    What to accompany the pie? Not sure – I often took a pie to work and ate it at lunch as it was. At dinner? mashed potato and veg? Not sure about the veg, and mash is a bit bland – so a nice tomato and onion salad? No, I think I will just have another pie to go with the first one. Ummmmm 😀

  13. Jonny says:

    Onto dinner – tonight I have a guest over so I have been cooking properly:
    We shall be eating chicken Rogan Josh, potato Lyonnais (fried potato and onions) with spinach & peas, carrots in lemon garlic butter.
    Followed by a pear clafoutis with vanilla creme fraiche.
    I am feeling pleased with myself as the cooking was completed, at very short notice, inside 40 minutes.

  14. YW says:

    H,

    > Higuain? Suarez? oh, come on — there was never any hope of Arsenal buying those two

    Well history seems to think we’d nailed a desk for one and lacked the bottle to sign the other.

  15. insideright says:

    A significant reason for Girouds dry spell last season was because we were awarded no penalties (even the justifiable ones) giving our main penalty taker fewer chances to get on the score sheet and get the confidence boost from doing so. The strikers who outscored him mainly did so via penalties.

  16. Jonnygunner says:

    YW,

    YW…..Hopelessly devoted to you…..oi…..Olivia Newton fucking John….turn it in.
    What time do you call this??

  17. Jonnygunner says:

    Jonny- sounds lovely….but why do you feel after telling us what potato Lyonnaise is(the ingredients)….you didn’t explain what Rogan Josh was?
    Me…woodburner….Shiraz…..did I mention working Springer Spaniel?….pretentious?….moi? ?

  18. Jonnygunner says:

    Orse
    Get yourself down to Southwold…there’s a smoking shop for kippers there.

  19. Wavey says:

    C,

    Sorry, Robson is a complete knob. He has some twisted little vendetta against the club. A nasty little man.

  20. C says:

    Jonny,

    Onto dinner…

    Well because if the unseasonably warm weather I decided to grill, you ask what, well a couple of steaks with full compliment of onions with red and yellow peppers as thr little one requested quesadillas. Then I decided on a nice turkey burger topped with pesto and fresh mozzerella on fresh whole wheat bun from a local baker.

  21. C says:

    Wavey,

    He does and is quite the cunt, but if you watch the match, he is actually spot on with this.

  22. Jonny says:

    C:
    Jonny,

    Onto dinner…

    Well because if the unseasonably warm weather I decided to grill, you ask what, well a couple of steaks with full compliment of onions with red and yellow peppers as thr little one requested quesadillas.Then I decided on a nice turkey burger topped with pesto and fresh mozzerella on fresh whole wheat bun from a local baker.

    Sounds awesome.

  23. Orson Kaert says:

    Jonnygunner,
    Southwold is even further away than Lowestoft, but I must stay loyal to an establishment that has been my primary source of both fresh and smoked fish for over twenty-five years.

    C, don’t listen to Henry, it’s a cake and sydney not a Kate and Siddely. Old sort of rhyming slang. Prime beef and ox kidney in a rich gravy encased in a short crust pastry pie case. Served with boiled Charlotte potatoes and fresh peas. Food fit for a Prince!

  24. Orson Kaert says:

    Sorry Yogi, once again I’ve digressed from the subject matter onto my main preoccupation, food.

    To get back to the subject at hand, Giroud has never been worthy of a starting place in the Arsenal team, any number of possible replacements have been suggested but never a serious offer for them has been forthcoming for any of them. Even when we have signed a recognised, experienced goal scorer, Luca Perez for instance, he’s consigned to the bench. Why would any self-respecting striker want to come to Arsenal with that prospect in view.

  25. C says:

    Jonny,

    Well thank you kind Sir! Yours certainly sounds delicious and sounds like your company will certainly enjoy!

  26. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Well that is certainly something I have never heard of, obviously not an American sort of dish. Prime beef, well when cooked properly can make most meals great. Meal and food for a Prince, well then surely our friend Henry is barking up the wrong tree. 😉

  27. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    The striker position with Giroud signing an extension and Arsene looking more and more likely to stay, will probably be our CF moving forward but I personally want Perez or Sanchez leading the line with the other playing on the flank.

  28. Bill says:

    Prospectively many of us thought Higuain was a significant upgrade and at the time we were linked with him. He was very affordable and at the time the transfer fees was around $25-30M which is significantly less then we paid for Ozil and less then we paid for Sanchez and Xhaka We certainly could have bought Higuiain when we were bidding on him.

  29. buckagh says:

    Van Basten apparently was a candidate to replace Arsene in the past, but if his suggestions to improve the game are anything to go by he is seriously nuts

  30. Bill says:

    Giroud is proof positive for the fact that when it comes to our CF it does not matter how fast or slow, interchangable or not, tall and strong target man who is good in the air or short and fast. The only critical element is he has to score. It hasn’t mattered if it’s Giroud or Alexis or even Theo. When the CF is scoring regularly our results are always good.

  31. Bill says:

    IMO, In order for us to play really well we need at least 2 players in the line up who are a significant threat to score. The best runs of form we have had in this decade where when Giroud/Ramsey were in form in 13/14 and Giroud/Alexis in the second half of the 14/15 season and Alexis/Theo in Sept-Oct of this season. With the way our squad is currently built we only have 3 players who have shown they can be a legitimate threat to get double digits in league goals, Alexis, Giroud and Theo. We really need at least 2 of them in the line up.

    Alexis is always going to start when healthy and that leaves Giroud and Walcott. If theo is healthy and in top form then he and Alexis can carry the load but Theo is notoriously inconsistent and has always struggled with injuries so you can’t count on him which means that like it or not it was inevitable that we would need to use Giroud again this season.

  32. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    All fair Yogi.
    It is hard though, at the beginning of the season I thought it was a mistake to put Sanchez up front as he played so well from deep, but it turns out you could have 10 Sanchezs on the field and not miss anyone. So yes we must play Giroud until he hits that wall. What is that wall made of? After the scorpion kick he looked bedazzled by himself for the rest of the match, sometimes he looks like the game should stop to commiserate a poor touch or on off side, at Everton I think it was goal celebrations that made him lose his focus on the urgency of the situation. Concentration? Confidence? While pundits wonder at him being sidelined with his latest stats, you don’t know when he looks out of it if he will make up if you leave him on. Does he not have the temperament of a two striker set up?

  33. HenryB says:

    YW:
    H,

    > Higuain? Suarez? oh, come on — there was never any hope of Arsenal buying those two

    Well history seems to think we’d nailed a desk for one and lacked the bottle to sign the other.

    In a way you have proved my point, oh esteemed leader. 🙂

    The purchase or not of players seems intuitively to be related to cost in the eyes of the majority of fans, and understandably so. However, I was not relating my comment to that specifically, because there are other issues that are more subjective like ‘value’, decision making and clear management.

    The Arsenal method seems to split the process between Wenger, Laws and Gazidis – the first to identify the player, the second to negotiate the cost/value and the latter to rubber stamp the deal and have it approved by the elephant in the room, Kroenke.

    That is what I was getting at, as it is almost designed to fail to arrive at a successful conclusion, and these checks and balances were presumably put in, I suppose, was inevitable following the naughtiness of Gorgeous George. 🙂

    I could be wrong, of course, but unless Bill has inside information, my view is more likely to be correct than his ‘Wenger saw a bag of candies for 10c and chose not to buy them’ — it is more complex than that, and corporate governance demands auditable methodology.

    OK, my mood was somewhat light-hearted at the time of chatting to Bill – but ….. 🙂

  34. HenryB says:

    C,

    Kate and Sydney was my effort to use rhyming slang for a steak and kidney pie — that is fraught with problems, and I will have to defer to ‘Orse’s local knowledge.

    The pies, if you can avoid the mass produced factory product, are delicious. 🙂

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