Following an extremely underwhelming Champions League performance against Monaco on February 25th (a match that could have been Olivier Giroud’s worst match in an Arsenal kit), Arsenal have gone on an absolute tear, winning six straight games in all competitions.
A significant chunk of the reason why the Gunners are firing on all cylinders at the moment boils down to Giroud’s superb play up front since the disappointing match at home to Monaco. The French forward has netted six goals in the six total games during the month of March.
While the 28-year-old always seems to be under the microscope since his arrival to the Emirates in 2012, Giroud has more than held his own as Arsenal’s go-to center forward. Giroud was essentially a replacement for outgoing Netherlands international Robin van Persie when the Dutchman left for Manchester United two and a half seasons ago in a £25 million exchange.
Although Giroud does not receive much praise by pundits and fans around the world, the Gunner forward has tallied the exact same amount of goals (including Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, and Champions League scores) since the beginning of the 2012-13 season as former “world-class” Gunner van Persie (55).
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently hailed Giroud following the team’s triumph over Newcastle on Saturday (a match in which Giroud scored two goals). When asked if his center forward was world-class Wenger stated, “I think so and he is scoring the goals to prove it. But I believe there is still room for improvement.”
“Technically, he is a much better player (now) than he was. His touch, his link play, his finishing, they have all improved. If you saw footage of him when he first arrived and now, it is obvious he is a better player.”
The French manager went on to finish, “He is a fighter as well and a player with good mental strength. At 22 or 23 he played in Division Three in France, and now he is at Arsenal.”
While Giroud being world class is debatable, Wenger is certainly right about the center forward’s current form. In fact, the 28-year-old striker has scored 10 goals in his last 12 total matches and has hit the back of the net more times in 2015 than Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arsenal’s main man up front will most likely cool off at some point in the near future; however, he has been an substantial addition to the Gunners since his arrival from France. Giroud is producing equally or better than some center forwards that cost twice as much as his £12 million price tag from Montpellier.
Despite missing out on three months during the beginning of the season, Giroud’s 13 scores in 19 matches breaks down to a goal every 97 minutes, currently tops among all Premier League players this season.
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