Football

Olivier Giroud: Arsenal's new hero

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Excellent start to the season (©GettyImages)
Excellent start to the season (©GettyImages).

At the beginning of last season Arsenal were expected, as always, to challenge for the top spot in the Premier League.

The Gunners have been seen as a selling club in the last few years as they have lost many of their top players like Cesc Fabregas.

The season looked grim as they lost Robin van Persie to one of their main rivals Manchester United but Arsene Wenger responded by making some great signings like Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud.

RVP had almost single-handedly dragged Arsenal back into the Champions League. In the league last campaign, Van Persie's goals changed the result of the match in 11 out of 38 fixtures.

The 24 point swing made him the most effective striker in the division by some margin, Grant Holt the next most valuable to his team with a 15 point swing from his 15 goals.

Giroud had the unenviable task of filling the large boots of the Dutchman and try to replicate his form.

The Frenchman had a shaky start which was understandable given that he had come from a completely different league and he took some time to find his feet.

As he started finding the net more often he gained more confidence and started showing the Gunners shelled out £12m for him. Soon he became a fan favourite and in January he was awarded the Arsenal Fan’s Player of the Month.

Despite a decent output of 17 goals and 11 assists from 47 appearances in his debut season it was deemed insufficient as the search for a new striker began. With Gonzalo Higuain being continually linked with a move to the Emirates, Giroud was under pressure to perform.

After showing some good pre-season form Giroud has continued that excellent run of form, scoring and assisting four in the first eight games of the league.

It is unfair that Giroud has always been haunted by the shadow of his predecessor and the high expectations of trying to emulate him.

When compared though it can be seen that both players have completely different playing styles. RVP, with his spectacular volleys and clinical finishes, was an out-and-out striker who looked to score from any given position.

Giroud, on the other hand, was more unselfish and looked to pass to a teammate as much as he looked to score.

With Arsenal flying high the confidence level has never been higher in the last eight years like it is now and Giroud has become an integral part of the squad as showcased against Norwich.

If he continues in this rich vein of form there is no saying what he can achieve this season.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
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