Giroud could emulate Arsenal greats
Olivier Giroud will emulate Arsenal greats like Thierry Henry & Dennis Bergkamp by scoring against Southampton
Goalless new Arsenal signing Olivier Giroud appears to have fate on his side going into the Gunners' clash against Southampton this weekend.
It will be the big Frenchman’s fourth Premier League appearance under Arsene Wenger and he will go into it having failed to find the target for the Emirates Stadium side yet.
A couple of poor finishes and two scoreless draws have already got people claiming Giroud is under pressure to find the net for his new team, but Arsenal’s clash with the Saints on Saturday is laden with good omens for him.
If the France international can break his duck at Emirates Stadium, he will be following in the footsteps of a number of great Arsenal strikers.
Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and the recently departed Robin van Persie all opened up their league accounts for the north London club against the side form the south coast.
Wright made his league debut in the fixture and graced it with a hat-trick ahead of a season where he won the Golden Boot.
From there he went on to break Cliff Bastin’s then record of 178 goals en route to finishing his career with the Gunners having amassed a tally of 185 – a record that would stand for a number of years.
Both Bergkamp and Henry had troubled starts to their respective careers in England, garnering much criticism from the media and fans over poor performances and a lack of goal returns.
A brilliant brace for Bergkamp during the clash at Highbury in 1995 got his Premier League career going.
‘The Iceman’ would eventually go on to be part of the famous ‘Invincibles’ side that went an entire league season unbeaten – that was just one of three league winners medals he collected while with the Gunners, as well as three FA Cups.
Henry’s first was away at Southampton’s old home stadium, The Dell, and it was equally as spectacular as Bergkamp’s.
The lithe French striker is now considered to be Arsenal’s greatest ever player by a significant number of Gunners fans and overtook Wright’s goalscoring record, eventually ending up with a total of 228 – a couple were added in his brief return to the club last season, both of them match-winning strikes.
Van Persie continued this trend in 2004 when he opened his Gunners account with a last minute equaliser against the Saints in the game immediately after their 49-game unbeaten run was ended.
The precocious Dutchman was a second half substitute and made his mark with seconds remaining, cutting inside to curl a delicious strike into the far top corner from an acute angle.
All of these men have gone on to great things in an Arsenal shirt and, all except Van Persie, are considered to be some of the best players to ever have worn the famous red shirt.
After the incredible scoring feats the Dutchman achieved last season, Giroud has been deemed to be having a slow start because three games have passed without him scoring, which is ludicrous.
To his credit, the former Montpellier man has dismissed these views and insisted he is relaxed about eventually getting on the scoresheet for his new employers.
Last season’s Ligue 1 Golden Boot winner made an important point regarding the brilliance of the man who he is replacing, reminding those who had drawn up comparisons between the two that his predecessor was not always so deadly.
“I'm coming in after someone who scored 30 goals last season, but who took eight years to reach that level,” he said earlier this week.
“I feel that I have less time to establish myself and that there are more immediate expectations of me.”
Despite this, Giroud was clear that he would not be letting it weigh upon his mind, confident that manager Arsene Wenger has belief in his new charge and would allow him time to blossom in England.
Another game without a goal would be irritating for the 25-year-old, but not a disaster – though he would be following in the footsteps of greatness if his wait came to an end on Saturday afternoon.