Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has warned Olivier Giroud that he is starting to build a bad reputation amongst referees.
The Arsenal striker returned from a three-game suspension against Stoke City this weekend. He was sent off on Boxing Day for headbutting QPR's Nedum Onuoha and subsequently received heavy criticism for the unnecessary indiscretion.
But he could have been sent off against Stoke City after a picture emerged of him pushing Ryan Shawcross in the neck. Referee Jonathan Moss did not see the incident and now Arsene Wenger must wait to see if the FA decide to take retrospective action.
"The Arsenal striker needs to be careful because he may be begin to build a reputation with referees"
Halsey, who officiated in the Premier League between 1999 and 2013, says the Gunners striker needs to cut out the bad behaviour soon as he is already building a reputation with referees.
Speaking in Goal column, he said: "Olivier Giroud can also count himself lucky that no action was taken for his push into Ryan Shawcross’ face."
"The Arsenal striker needs to be careful because he may be begin to build a reputation with referees.
"Last month, we saw him sent off for a headbutt on QPR’s Nedum Onuoha, and in the World Cup he was fortunate to stay on the pitch in two games after elbowing Ecuador’s Gabriel Achilier and Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel."
Arsenal have certainly paid the price for Giroud's misbehaviour in recent games. With Danny Welbeck out through injury, Wenger was forced to play Alexis Sanchez out of position against Southampton where he is less effective.
Southampton won that game 2-0 with Sanchez struggling to find space in an unfamiliar central role. Had Giroud been in the team the result could have been much different.
Playing for his future
Welbeck is likely to push Giroud all the way for a starting spot when he returns from his thigh injury and the France international has given Wenger every reason to drop him. Had he been sent off against Stoke City it could well have been the final straw for Wenger and Arsenal.