I like Ollie G. I think I’m even appreciating him more now that we have an option in Alexis that has been so good at times this season. He’s finally found a place in the team which, whilst probably not as much fun for him, works well for us as a squad.
So I’m pleased that he’s talking about signing a new deal. It works well for all parties I think. He gets a nice new long-term deal, Arsenal get the security of a good first team squad player extending, which also means he sounds less likely to kick up a stink given his lack of game time.
He has been quoted as saying he’s close to a new deal and as far as I’m concerned that is the right thing for everyone. He’s been contributing to the team from the bench with goals, but he also offers a different presence in the team.
Against West Brom we saw that. A team looking to sit deep, to try an eek out a point, which really meant our ability to get in behind the lines was negated somewhat. So if you’re going to play a team who don’t want the ball and want you to be right in front of them instead of behind all the time, then why not use another option like Giroud? His goal was a perfect example of that: strength in holding his marker, aerial ability to get above McCauley, plus decent enough positioning to give Özil something deep and central to aim for.
Giroud has scored seven goals from his last five games I think, which just serves to underline his value. I think the problem most of us have had with him in the past (well I say ‘problem’ but that sounds a little harsh. Perhaps something like ‘slight niggle’ would be more in keeping) is that he’s been out only major choice up top. Nothing else has worked, like having Theo up top, until this season. So we’ve ended up having a few issues with his inconsistency purely on the basis that there are no other options for us to look towards when he is having one of his goal droughts. That’s not the case any more. Now if he has a drought then we have other options. But I also feel like his time on the bench is doing him good because he’s having to perform at his pinnacle to show the manager that he’s worthy of a start. Which is why we’re seeing so many goals from him in so few games. And so many from the bench.
But whilst that works for us, I can’t see it working for him forever, so if the season continues to pan out as the first half of it has, then I can’t see Ollie getting too many starts. I like the idea of utilising him when the situation dictates, but apologies for putting a downer on this blog, but my gut feel was that Arsène didn’t pick him to tactically out-manoeuvre Tony Pulis. Had Walcott been fit, I suspect we’d have seen Giroud on the bench again, probably coming on at the trademark 70 minute mark. And that’s why I think we’ll have a less happy Giroud come to the end of the season, because I don’t think Arsène will look at the opposition and decide that he needs to be the one starting on that given day. In Giroud’s injury he talks about coming back late from the Euros, as well as picking up an injury, so that kind of justification works for a short period of time. But when he realises that Arsène’s team set up has moved on from when he was a focal point in the attack, I think he’ll have some words to say with the manager.
In truth, I think the only way Giroud gets a run in the team this season, will be through injury. Which of course none of us want to see from any Arsenal player.
I do wish Arsène would choose his setup depending on the opposition though. It’s like the Palace game on New Year’s Day. We all know that Ol’Walrus himself will be looking to set his team up in a compact fashion, with a view to using pace on the flanks to counter us when we’re on the attack. We’re all away of this, right? So to me, what we need is Giroud starting again, with two pacey wide men who are good with the ball at their feet. So I would have Alexis and The Ox either side of our big Frenchman. But I’m just not convinced that is what Arsène will do. If both The Ox and Walcott are fit, I think he plays both, because right now they are higher up in the pecking order than our big Frenchman.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with that when Arsène has his presser on whatever day he has it on. In the meantime, there really isn’t much else to feast on, Arsenal wise. So I think I’ll get back to just feasting on any kind of crap I kind find from the leftover Christmas festivities.