When it comes to polarizing players in the Premier League, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud may just be at the top of the list. The Frenchman has scored is fair share of goals since making the switch from Montpellier to north London in the summer of 2012; however, many Gooners (as well as other fans around the world) still don’t rate the striker very highly due to scoring chances that Giroud has squandered over the years.
While the 6’4” forward has certainly missed chances to score even more goals in his four-and-a-half years in London, his shot accuracy has improved every year so far. In his freshman season with the Gunners, Giroud posted a 43% shot accuracy during Premier League play. After just more than half of the current campaign under his belt, the striker has increased his shot accuracy to 56%, roughly the same percentage as Manchester City’s star striker Sergio Aguero (57%).
Giroud has represented outstanding value since his arrival from France. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger managed to purchase the player for just £9.6 million. The relatively inexpensive fee surely does not match Giroud’s goal output during his Arsenal career.
The France international has played 206 total games for the Gunners, scoring 91 goals, as well as contributing 39 assists. His 63 Premier League goals rank fifth among Arsenal strikers (only Thierry Henry, Ian Wright, Robin Van Persie, and Dennis Bergkamp are above him), and is currently level with Theo Walcott, who has been with the club since 2006. His goalscoring numbers fit quite nicely with other more highly-rated strikers in the Premier League.
Not only has Giroud scored goals, but he has also scored important goals as well. In 21 Premier League matches in which the Frenchman has played against the top five clubs since the start of the 2014/15 season, Giroud has scored nine times (more than Chelsea’s Diego Costa in that stretch). The striker has also contributed when trophies were on the line. During Arsenal’s four matches when a trophy was at stake, Giroud has scored twice and assisted twice. This includes hisbrilliant backheel assist to Aaron Ramsey in the 2014 FA Cup Final victory, and an outstanding goal during the 2014 Community Shield win.
Giroud is also contributing with assists as well. No, he is no Mesut Özil, but compared to other center forwards, the Frenchman definitely holds his own.
On the current campaign, Giroud has mostly played second fiddle to superstar Alexis Sanchez. Nevertheless, the 30-year-old has made the most of his opportunities when he is on the pitch. Despite only playing a total of 781 minutes so far this season, Giroud has managed to score nine goals and add five assists. This means that the striker is average a goal or an assist every 55 minutes, an astounding number.
The Arsenal striker’s goal every 75 minutes during Premier League play is also best in the league.
Minutes Per Goals Scored During Current PL Campaign (at least 5 goals):
With Giroud contributing nicely, there have been reports surfacing that the striker is set to sign a new contract extension with the club. The player himself has even claimed, “We are about to reach an agreement for an extension [to my contract]. It was also a gesture of confidence, I want to continue the adventure here in this family of Arsenal. I feel good here.”
The Gunners retaining Giroud and extending his contract is good news for the club. He scores goals (including the goal of the season), contributes to his teammates, and clearly loves being a part of this team. While not a “world-class” striker, Giroud definitely deserves respect for his quality of play for the Gunners.
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