Olivier Giroud may be the most polarizing player in the Premier League. Despite the fact that the Frenchman has scored the second-most goals in the prestigious league since the start of the 2013-14 season, behind only Sergio Agüero, Giroud has his fair share of detractors. The Arsenal striker’s statistics are even more impressive considering that the North London club reportedly paid just £9.6 million for his services back in the summer of 2012.
Giroud’s impact with the Gunners culminated on Wednesday when the club traveled to Greece not only needing to record a victory in a tough place to play but requiring to win by at least two goals. The 29-year-old center forward guided the Gunners to a 3-0 victory against Olympiacos, netting his first hat-trick with the team. The performance was particularly remarkable considering that he appeared to roll his ankle midway through the first half. The massive away victory let Arsenal advance to the knockout phase of the Champions League, a feat that seemed out of reach just a short time ago.
Following the game, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey hailed his teammate:
“He’s been in really good form this year and to get a hat-trick in the circumstances just shows how important he is for us. We’re delighted with his contribution and hopefully he can keep up this goalscoring form that he’s in. He links up the play really well, he’s a good target man who can flick balls on, bring balls down and bring other players into play. He can score goals as well so he has a bit of everything.”
Delving deeper into Giroud’s goal record with the Gunners and you can see just how important he has been to the North London side. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign, Giroud’s goal tally is very respectable. His numbers are even more impressive when you take into account the transfer fees involved:
*According to Transfermarkt
So why is Giroud not rated by so many people? One aspect could be the fact that his shot accuracy is not exactly stellar. While he does score a significant amount of goals for his club, he misses his fair share of chances. The Frenchman’s 54% shot accuracy during league play this season is decidedly lower than other Premier League forwards such as Agüero, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, and Jamie Vardy.
Another aspect people seem to dislike is his “pretty boy” reputation. The former Montpellier striker has received plenty of flak by jealous male fans for moonlighting as a model and caring an enormous amount about how he presents himself (including his famous hairstyle), which is perceived by some as being ostentatious.
Nevertheless, regardless of how one feels about his personal life, there is no doubting Giroud’s ability in front of goal. While few people are touting the 29-year-old as “world-class,” that is not to say that he is not a talented player. Giroud’s goal tally should be respected and what he has done during his time in north London has been legitimately impressive.
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