Olivier Giroud has looked a bit out of touch in recent games and it might be that the Frenchman is suffering from match fatigue.
Arsene Wenger should consider replacing him with his German teammate Lukas Podolski if Arsenal are going to hold on to their top four spot.
The Frenchman has enjoyed a reasonably good season so far, scoring 11 league goals, but there have been too many missed opportunities – most recently against Everton in the frustrating 0-0 stalemate.
Giroud had the best chances to get the points on the board but failed to execute any of them.
He had several good chances, two of which certainly should have found the back of the net. In the one instance Aaron Ramsey found space down the right flank and picked out Giroud with a well-aimed cross but the former Montpellier man scuffed the shot and sent it wide past an onrushing Tim Howard.
His second chance came late in the second half when he received the ball in the area but managed to lift it over the bar from six yards out.
Although scoring a healthy amount of goals for a player who is in his debut Premier League season, Giroud simply hasn’t performed at the standard that is expected of an Arsenal striker.
He doesn’t use enough initiative; his goals this season, although much appreciated by the Arsenal faithful, were simple tap-ins most of the time.
And most importantly, as mentioned, he misses too many chances that one would expect a striker playing in the top flight for a top club – following in the footsteps of names like Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie – to put away.
Lukas Podolski should be granted a chance down the middle in lieu of Giroud. I’m not saying the German will do any better, I’m simply suggesting that he deserves a chance after Giroud’s disappointing performance on Tuesday night.
Podolski has scored nine league goals and has provided as many assists despite not getting nearly as much playing time as Giroud. He was a regular in the first team during the first half of the season but was always substituted by Wenger.
In the latter half of the season he has fallen out of favour somewhat and due to injury niggles and other players getting picked ahead of the German, he hasn’t started a game since January.
However, one gets the feeling that Arsenal’s attacks hold more of a threat when the German is playing and Wenger should consider giving the German a full 90 minutes.
Whenever the former Cologne striker has come off the bench he’s added urgency and purpose to the Emirates outfit’s advances and he might just be what Arsenal need up front and centre.
The Germany international has heaps of experience in front of goal on the international stage as well as on club level and he has shown that he can be creative in assisting fellow forwards and that he is a terrific striker of the ball.
He is not as big as Giroud and doesn’t pose as much of an aerial threat but he makes up for it in control of the ball on deck, speed, agility and perhaps most importantly, the ability to finish off chances.
Arsenal have five remaining games and they will have to be looking to gain maximum points if they’re going to pip their north London rivals to a Champions League spot. Podolski might just be the man to finish the season strongly for Arsene Wenger.
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