When Robin Van Persie left Arsenal for Manchester United last summer, an understandable void was left in the Dutchman’s absence.
His replacement, Olivier Giroud, has scored 17 goals so far this season and provided 13 assists as well. But has his first season been a success? And has he proved he’s the man to replace Van Persie?
Those statistics would suggest he has settled into life in the Premier League very well, but the truth is that he’s nowhere near the level of Van Persie. In fairness to the 26-year-old not many are, but as soon as he made his debut at The Emirates, there was just something unconvincing about the Frenchman.
Firstly, he is not an Arsenal kind of player whatsoever. In the Arsene Wenger era, Arsenal’s strikers have all been fast, technical and lethal in front of goal: from Nicolas Anelka to Thierry Henry right through to Van Persie. Giroud is simply not that kind of player. He lacks pace, does not have much guile and misses a lot of chances in games.
In a lot of ways he is just a French version of Andy Carroll. That is not actually meant as a criticism, it just means he has his limitations as a soccer player. He is excellent in the air, has an underrated left foot and does have the knack of scoring some important goals; he’s just not right for Arsenal.
If Wenger wants his side to start competing for Premier League and Champions League honours again he has to buy a striker superior to Giroud. He is a player who get you 15 to 20 goals a season, which for a top team isn’t spectacular, and he is a good squad player to bring on in games to hold the ball up and help out defensively from corners.
Giroud is a likeable player who works hard for the team, but he is most certainly not the solution for Arsenal in terms of replacing their former hero.