The Arsenal summer signing had a slow start to his career in the Premier League, with the Frenchman failing to impress the Gooners, who saw their captain Robin van Persie leave the club in the summer.
But, in the other half of north London, Jermain Defoe has found it hard to not find the net, with the Englishman scoring nine goals, over twice as much as Giroud’s 4, partly because the former Montpellier striker has played 300 less minutes than Defoe (16), who has started 5 more games than Giroud (11) in total.
The Frenchman definitely is stronger at defending than Defoe, with his height being a major factor in his 54% success rate of aerial dual wins, a much improved figure in comparison to Defoe’s 17%. But Giroud’s defensive attributes are also a credit when not aerially challenging for the ball, with the 26-year-old winning all of his tackles which he attempted.
His defensive qualities are far superior to Defoe; but with the striker’s main role being the goalscorer, which Arsenal are currently craving, his attacking prowess is something which is considered to be much more important. Obviously the aerial strength is needed at set pieces when attacking and defending, but his strikes have been a weak yet supposedly crucial aspect of his game.
Even though he has given away the ball 34 times, he has won possession 20 times. But when considering Defoe has won possession in the midfield area 21 times, the possessive part of Giroud’s game is clearly another weak point.
However, this could be down to Wenger’s system of a lone-striker, being supported by attacking midfielders. Even though this is similar to Villas-Boas’ Tottenham squad, Defoe’s pace and successful dribbling means that he can run down the pitch and challenge the opposing keeper. This contrasts to Giroud’s style of passing back towards his defence to keep possession, with a huge 33% of Giroud’s passes being towards his own goal. Whilst this doesn’t seem like such a huge figure, Defoe only passes backwards every 1 in 5 passes. Giroud’s dribbling success is very poor, with the Frenchman only completing 25% of the 20 he has attempted, half of Defoe’s rate which has seen him successfully complete 9 of 16 dribbles.
Having said this, Giroud has created 13 opportunities for team-mates this season, and although it is considerably smaller than Defoe’s 21 chances, Giroud has crossed the ball into the box 14 times, the same number as Defoe despite playing less than him, suggesting that although his aerial ability makes him a favourite for duals in the air, his most creative part of play is from the wings.
With this all said, it’s clear that Giroud is finding it hard to find his feet in the Premier League. But joining a new squad with new ideas, it is obvious that it would be a struggle for any new signing. But after showing his potential in the north London derby as a great target man, it would be a surprise for Giroud to have a ‘doom and gloom’ season at the Emirates.
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