To beard, or not to beard

By Simon Rose

That is the Giroud question

Olivier Giroud is the classic Arsenal Marmite player: many either love him or hate him. For those who love him, Giroud is underrated and deserves far more recognition and respect, with 101 goals for the club. For those who hate him, Giroud shouldnít have been at the club long enough to score that many. Giroud is a paradox.

Giroud has recently become only the 19th Arsenal player of 849 in our entire history to score 100 goals for the club. Arsenalís 100 Club contains some of the finest players ever to play for Arsenal. Some are from modern times and many of us had the joy to watch them score their goals. Others achieved their haul before many of us where born.

Are they all automatically cast as eternal legends, for such a rarefied achievement? That feels like it should be a given. It is certainly the case for some of the 19. Sadly, the likes of Stapleton and van Persie rescinded any such status in many eyes as soon as they eschewed Arsenal for Manchester United.

Which begs the question: what makes you an Arsenal legend? Do you have to win trophies? Do you have to stay loyal? Does that mean never leaving Arsenal, or at least leaving well?

The fervour for Arsenal to win the Premier League or the Champions League has seen Giroud scapegoated for Arsenal not being good enough on either count. We are not good enough collectively, so he is not good enough individually. But is that fair? He has helped us to win three FA Cups.

Itís not great to see Giroud playfully thumping the ground after a missed chance, when you feel he didnít need to experiment, but football is not an exact science. Players become successful by trying things. Giroud might soar headers over the bar at times and conjure a daft outcome from a simpler option, but without the near-misses you wouldnít get the occasional wonder-strikes. You donít get goals like Giroudís winner this week in Belgrade by trying such things once.

If Giroud was a figure from a bygone Arsenal era, his record would be more revered and respected. Modern players are analysed with their every breath. For some of Arsenalís 100 Club, their legendary status is upheld despite many of us never have seen them play and having no idea of their flaws.

Most of the Arsenal 100 Club have done their time now. Their record is cast is stone and will not change. They can do no more. Apart from two. Giroud and Walcott. They can and do still shape our destiny. For me, itís not a case of thinking what Giroud can do for Arsenal, but more what Arsenal can do for Giroud.

With Jack Wilshere back fit and playing beautifully, I hope that our attack will blossom with him. Rather than take off Lacazette for Giroud with 20 minutes to go, I want to see both on the pitch.

I want to see Wilshereís delicious array of passing, timing and skills used for the advantage of Lacazette and Giroud, together, on the pitch, at the same time. For the whole game. It will increase our options, their chances to score and our overall our scope to sustain challenges.

Olivier Giroud does not need to be purely a cameo figure, inspiring Arsenal late, from the bench, with his dashing good looks and magnificent beard. We should be making far better use of him, for the collective benefit and skills of the team. Giroud and Lacazette need service. Wilshere would be a great source for both and I say let's make the most of all three.

22nd October 2017 10:44:29


Comments and Reaction

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Bard  10:59am 22nd Oct 2017

Where do you get the idea that Giroud is scapegoated because Arsenal dont win anything? My impression is that he is admired for what he is, a willing but limited workhorse. He would have gone this season but for the fact that his wife apparently didn't fancy the move up north. How you view him depends on the level you are competing at. Europa league is our current level and he did well. - Post No. 110406

Petergooner  11:52am 22nd Oct 2017

There is one reason for Giroud, he is different. He can hold the ball up, get into the penalty area and rise to head the ball. We do not have anyone else who can do this. We must keep him. - Post No. 110407

mbg  18:06pm 22nd Oct 2017

Were we playing today ? wenger out. - Post No. 110408

Paulward  18:17pm 22nd Oct 2017

Giroud is just a good player, if he had pace he would be a great one. Been impressed with his attitude this season , not getting in the team but keeping his head down and his mouth shut, and scoring a few goals. Hard to criticise the bloke, Iím not sure what his critics expect when he only cost 12 mill. - Post No. 110409

Guy in Jersey  18:40pm 22nd Oct 2017

I've said it before, but Giroud is very much like Edin Dzeko, another underrated player. Apart from their personal characteristics (both 31, and 6'4"), they've always scored goals, are first choice for their respective nations, and both have led their teams to league titles in other countries. Giroud is the perfect squad player in that, like Dzeko, he'll never be the star, but still adds a hell of a lot to the team (even when coming off the bench). Ultimately, a striker will always be judged on goals, and both he and Dzeko have scored bucketloads - unlike goal-shy Arsenal forwards such as Wellbeck (who has a pathetic strike rate), Lucas Perez (who had ONE good season with Deportivo), Takuma Asano (currently out on loan), failures such as Chamakh, Bendtner, Gervinho, Vela and Park Chu-Young, and complete jokes like Sanogo. So, Olivier might not be brilliant, but he's still bloody good, and will hopefully be remembered with more affection than other international strikers such as Podolski and Adebayor. Final point. Do you Everton would be where they are now if they'd had him up front this season? - Post No. 110410

Scruff  20:12pm 22nd Oct 2017

Guy in Jersey excellent post also if we had wingers who could put in decent ball's into the correct area and played to his obvious strength he would be far more prolific. Unfortunately we have a manager who believes in the likes of Walcott - Post No. 110411

Scruff  11:20am 23rd Oct 2017

Did Everton really pay 30 million for Pickford? Threw himself around but has no ability to catch/smother the ball. When they get relegated no doubt we will try to buy him! Good performance against a woeful side and to think if we had the 'cajones' to beat Watford we would be 3rd....says a lot about the quality in this league! - Post No. 110418

Issue #269 - Out Now!

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