Football is all about taking full advantage of your opportunity’s and in Olivier Giroud’s case that is exactly what he did against Southampton last weekend.
Olivier Giroud added a further 2 goals to his seasonal tally (7) on Saturday as he stole the show scoring the only goals in the game as the Gunners came out on top, beating a inform Southampton side 2-0.
Giroud’s first came from an absolutely shocking decision from the Southampton goal keeper Arthur Boruc who received the ball from a back pass, as Giroud closes the ball down and Boruc comically tryies to do a number of Cruyff turn and drag backs to get away from a ball hungry Giroud and eventually loses out as Giroud wins the ball and taps home for one of the easiest finishes you’ll ever see! Olivier Giroud sensed the opportunity by closing the ball down, putting Boruc under great pressure, hitting back at some Arsenal fans that have been talking amongst the stands saying that he’s lazy and doesn’t chase the ball down enough.
The second goal came from a penalty that was awarded to arsenal as Jose Fonte was penalized for needlessly holding back Per Mertesacker in the box during the later stages of the game from a corner. Giroud stepped up for the Gunners and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way, finding the net, giving Arsenal there second goal and a cushion to see out the last 5 minutes. The second goal was welcomed by the home fans as Arsenal come firing out at the second half continuing to raise their game, creating opportunity’s and moving the ball quickly, determined not to let Southampton take any points away from the game.
As the heat map below shows Giroud had to come short or go wide to get onto the ball. Southampton restricted his touches inside the box and this is illustrated clearly in the heap map with the majority being on the left side either centrally or on the left wing. Arsenal only registered nine shots in this game Giroud attempted three of them, one being the easy tap in, the second being the penalty and then another shot off target.
Whilst the goals were as easy as you’re going to get the rest of Giroud’s play shows how hard he’s working. He won 5 out of 6 aerial duels against Southampton and won the ball back four times in midfield which was the joint second highest in the side – Ramsey taking the top spot with 10.
Giroud now has 7 goals and 4 assists in 12 appearances this season making him Arsenal’s top goal scorer and he’s now only four goals off of his total off 11 from last season. Not only can Giroud find the net for his club, he can also play a part in creating goals, Girouds 4 assists put him on par with Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey who both also have 4 assists for the Gunners.
The stats above show that Giroud is 8th in the table for minutes per goal involvement (goals and assists combined) so far this season. He’s involved in a goal for Arsenal in the Premier League every 95 minutes so just over a goal per game which is outstanding and not far off of former Arsenal hero Robin Van Persie who’s involved in a goal every 91 minutes. Arsenal fans will be satisfied that Giroud is well on the way to getting close to doubling his tally this season. Robin Who?
Giroud has been playing out of his skin so far this season, not bad for a player that in August must of questioned his own place in the the Arsenal team with rumours of France team mate Karim Benzema and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez joining Arsenal, but the rumours seemed to have motivated Giroud into keeping his place in the side and he’s proving exactly why he should be in the side. Jack Wilshere has even said stated that Giroud has been their best player so far this season.
One thing Arsenal may want to prioritise in January is the purchase of a back up for Giroud as any injury to their star striker leaves them very short on options. With Podolski injured and Bendtner not up to the task Arsenal require another player in the mould of Giroud that can spearhead the attack.
Heatmap and goal images via Daily Mail’s Match Zone