Football

Olivier Giroud has been instrumental for France at Euro 2016.

Olivier Giroud is still underrated for Arsenal and France

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Olivier Giroud is a player who frequently divides opinion, particularly among Arsenal fans who watch him week in, week out at club level.

Arsenal's lack of Premier League titles in recent seasons is often attributed to the fact that Giroud, who is their undisputed main striker, doesn't hit the back of the net regularly enough.

Onlookers with this theory may well have had their view justified last season, as between January and May, Giroud failed to score in 15 league games on the trot. For a striker leading the line for a club like Arsenal, this clearly isn't good enough.

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However, despite his lengthy drought in front of goal, Giroud still finished the season with 24 goals in all competitions, his highest season tally for the Gunners since joining in 2012.

Among his 24 strikes included goals against the likes of Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Manchester City, and a crucial hat-trick away to Olympiakos in what was a do or die match for Arsenal in the Champions League.

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Irrespective of his positive contributions, the 29-year-old is still often made a scapegoat for Arsenal's failures, but stats prove the Frenchman is one of the few players who comes to the fore for his team.

In terms of goals, only Alexis Sanchez provides sturdy competition for Giroud, and the Chilean international finished last season with 17 goals in all competitions, seven goals shy of Giroud's total.

It may be far fetched to put Giroud into the world-class bracket of strikers, but he's certainly proven he's good enough to play for Arsenal.

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-ASTON VILLA

On top of his exploits for his club, Giroud is now starting to win over French football fans, who were less than pleased to see him selected for the national team ahead of other forwards.

The likes of Karim Benzema, Kevin Gameiro, and Alexandre Lacazette were all omitted from the French squad for the Euros by manager Didier Deschamps, much to the frustration of the French support.

They made their feelings known by booing Giroud in France's friendly matches prior to the Euros, but the heckling from the stands wasn't enough to deter Giroud, whose performances for Les Bleus have been nothing short of exceptional.

After his brace against Iceland, Giroud moved level with French football icon Eric Cantona on 20 goals for France, a commendable achievement which should impress even the staunchest Giroud critics. 

France v Iceland - Quarter Final: UEFA Euro 2016

Whilst his footballing ability will continue to be called into question, one thing that cannot be disregarded is his character.

Giroud has been criticised since his arrival at Arsenal by fans and media outlets alike, but he continues to perform with unerring perseverance.

Having steadily improved each season he's been in north London, there's every chance Giroud could finally fire Arsenal to a Premier League title.

France fans will certainly be hoping Giroud can maintain his current form, and in the process help fire them to a first European title since 2000. 

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Alexis Sanchez
Football
Premier League
Euro 2016
Arsenal

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