Olivier Giroud has continued to show that there’s more to him than “Kodak moments" with 4 goals in the final minutes of different games this season, 6 in the last twenty minutes and a whooping 10 in his last eight starts so far.
The Frenchman has shown that mental strength isn’t as scarce as most players will have you believe. Having been left out of the starting 11 for various reasons ranging from lack of form at the beginning of the season due to his involvement in the Euros for France who eventually lost in the finals to Portugal, to Alexis Sanchez’s form in that top 9 position he had manned since his introduction into the Arsenal team.
Despite these odds, Giroud has proved himself to be a vital member of the team by popping up important goals whenever called upon with enthusiasm and guile.
From getting Arsenal level with our only shot on target against Mourinho’s United at the dying moments to saving our blushes against Preston North End. Speaking of Preston North End , it is important I acknowledge the first of half of their display in the FAcup tie against us on Saturday.
Their drive, commitment and mentality in that half is something we can take a leaf out of. We seemed quite out of our depth to be honest in comparison to their desire on display. Being dominated for a complete half by a championship side for that matter isn’t easy to swallow.
Anyway, being captain that day, Giroud gained more faith in himself by first and foremost repaying the manager’s trust by protecting Wenger’s record in the FA cup third round and securing passage to the next phase of the competition by scoring the winner.
During Wenger’s post match interview, he had this to say:
“He scored recently many goals. In the squad, everybody contributes. It’s not about 11 and he is at the moment in good form. So for one month he scores goal after goal"
On Giroud’s captaincy:
“I named him captain, I like to rotate the captaincy. He went through a period where he was of course in discomfort because he didn’t play and during this period that was quite long. He kept his focus and worked, I think he has shown leadership qualities so I made him captain today"
His response to feeling angry during his halftime talk with the team during the cup tie with Preston :
“Yes. We are top level Premier League and we were dominated in the first half. Preston had chances you know and I believe we were just not at the pace of the game or the pace that the game demanded. Of course, I didn’t want to go home and be out of the FA Cup tonight".
On another note, Oxlade Chamberlain was dreadful against Preston. With predictable runs, nonchalant dispositions loose balls and defending bar one instance throughout the game.
This was very disappointing on a personal level as I have ceaselessly campaigned for his inclusion in the side whenever possible. So much so I even had him in my team lineup for the Preston game and oh boy did he leave me biting the dust.
I suppose the boss must be quite familiar with this feeling on a regular basis which speaks more of the boss’s character.
Our next game is against Swansea City in the Premier league and despite our inability to take maximum points against Bournemouth, I remain defiant in my prediction as regards getting all 3 points against our remaining January fixtures.
The next thought will be on the elusive “Arsenal wage structure " and its consequences.