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End of an era: Olivier Giroud, the modern-day Arsenal legend


End of an era: Olivier Giroud, the modern-day Arsenal legend

When Arsenal announced that Olivier Giroud has joined Chelsea on a permanent deal in the dying hours of the January transfer window, it pulled at the heartstrings of every single Gunners’ fan.

The towering Frenchman joined the club at a time when the fans were fuming after Robin van Persie’s infamous transfer to Manchester United. Since then, the player struggled to make room for himself in the hearts of the Arsenal faithful. Although he acted as a regular starter, the player failed to score that often and it led to greater frustration among the fans.

However, despite the many setbacks he has faced during his time with Arsenal, Giroud has still managed to leave as a hero. Over the years, Arsene Wenger utilised him solely as a backup option while strikers came and went. To be fair, the Gunners have struggled with finding a solid centre-forward for quite some time now. At present, they have the clinical Alexandre Lacazette and the lethal Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but back when it was just Giroud, things were quite different for the club.

No matter how hard Giroud fell, he always managed to wrestle back into the first-team and perhaps more than anything else, his fighting spirit is what the club will miss. There was no setback too big for him to overcome and he always provided a lot of competition to whoever played ahead. In fact, over the last couple of seasons, in particular, the French striker not only displayed consistency but also proved to be an extremely reliable option from the bench.

The biggest complaint that the fans had about him was that he is not speedy enough to surge forward and net goals on any given day. While the pace part is true, many people failed to realize that Giroud is a natural poacher. Every team needs a poacher – somebody who may not start regularly but is utilised more as an impact sub to come in during the dying minutes of the game and net a goal or two.

And to that end, Giroud is arguably one of the best in the Premier League. His soft touches and movement around the penalty area make him a delight to watch. In the last couple of seasons, the fans started looking at him as a vital figure of the team and he took that reputation up a notch in the initial few months of the current season. Fellow Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette’s arrival meant that Giroud would have lesser time on the field and his form would crumble. While the first part was true, the towering striker simply rose like a phoenix from the ashes.


He did not let Lacazette’s inclusion affect his game time. Instead, he used every single minute on the field to prove everybody watching that he deserves to be on the field. It is almost as if the less he played, the more he improved and started delivering results in important games throughout the season. However, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the team, it would have been tougher for him to appear regularly – even as a substitute, perhaps.

To be a player who primarily comes on and makes an impact towards the end of the game is very tough. Sir Alex Ferguson used Javier Hernandez that way and it yielded effective results for the longest time. More accurately, Edin Dzeko and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were the ones who made it a trend and since then, the quest to find an impact sub has been a priority for many teams. One reason why this method works so well is that all these players enter the game with fresh legs and full of energy. Unlike the others whose energy starts wearing off, players like Giroud enter the field just with the sole agenda of scoring goals.

He can confront opposition defenders quite directly and is skilled in one-on-one situations as well. In addition to that, he can compete for the ball in the air while also displaying some elegant skills on the field. He is definitely no Thierry Henry but Giroud has managed to carve out a niche for himself as a modern-day Arsenal legend. There is no doubt that the Gunners will miss an influential player like him but he has given everything he can to the club and perhaps it is now time for him to experience newer pastures.


His new job at Chelsea will include similar requirements as well. The Blues already have Alvaro Morata but with Michy Batshuayi out on loan to Borussia Dortmund, they were in dire need of an experienced back-up striker. Moreover, they have been in need of a poacher for quite some time now and who better than Giroud to do the same?

Strikers may come and go at Arsenal but what Giroud has done will definitely stay on forever and it is time for him to write a new chapter at Stamford Bridge.