Arsene Wenger was rescued once again by Olivier Giroud at St Mary’s on Sunday and could benefit from giving his compatriot more game time.
Arsenal toiled and pressed for an opening but failed to penetrate a stolid Southampton backline, until Giroud snatched a point at the death. The game had excruciating echoes of the previous game against Man Utd, and fans despaired as they watched Arsenal hustle and bustle but fail to make the breakthrough.
The Gunners only threatened when the big Frenchman replaced compatriot Alexandre Lacazette and he salvaged a draw for his team. After breaking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s record for goals as a substitute, is there a case for Giroud to start more games?
We know how badly he has infuriated Arsenal fans in the past with his lack of pace and mobility and his often-sloppy finishing, but you can never deny his work ethic.
He is also extremely dangerous in the air and gives Arsenal another dimension going forwards. He fights for the team, holds the ball up expertly and links play well.
In tight games against teams that like to put 11 men behind the ball, he can make all the difference. And his goal scoring stats are not even too bad: he has scored 105 goals in 167 starts and 82 substitute appearances.
Good Golly, Hit and Miss Ollie
He is good enough to keep Lacazette out of the France team, but cannot get in the Arsenal team ahead of him. Giroud may now seek a move away from the club in January to boost his chances of holding down his starting berth with Les Bleus ahead of the World Cup.
At betting sites you can find well reviewed and trusted odds and you will see that France are among the favourites to win the World Cup and look a great bet to do so. Any forward would want to be a part of that, so Giroud must do all he can to keep his place as competition is ferocious within the squad.
Of course, he almost went to Everton in the wake of Lacazette’s summer transfer from Lyon, but had a last-minute change of heart. Arsenal fans should be grateful he did as he has bailed the team out on plenty of occasions this season. Is it time we admit the oft-derided striker is a potent weapon and might be more deserving of game time?
Lacazette, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil sounds like a dream front three and they can certainly tear apart certain teams. But when a big team sits back and defends all game then it can require something else and Giroud is often the answer.
“He will start more games,” said Arsene Wenger after the Southampton game. “I believe as well it’s always the same when you have many good players, some of them cannot play.
“The question you get is always, why does the guy who is good not play? Because if you take him on you have another guy who is good who will not play, it is as simple as that.”
One for You, One for Me
It would be folly for Wenger to even consider sending out a crucial squad player on loan as we approach a busy point in the season. Post-Christmas there will be fatigue and injuries to deal with and he will need every hand on deck.
The title is well beyond Arsenal’s grasp once again as Man City are running away with it, but Arsenal can still make the top four if they buck their ideas up, because their rivals are all dropping points too.
Giroud can drive Arsenal up the table with crucial goals if he is given greater responsibility within the squad and Arsenal might reach the promised land of the Champions League once more, boost their finances and be able to invest in the squad next summer for a genuine assault on the Premiership title.