Giroud Needs To Forget The Misses & Prove He Can Handle The Limelight

A point simply won't do. Arsenal need to put a goalless home tie behind them and grab a win before United come knocking and the big fella needs to get back on the horse...
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A point simply won't do. Arsenal need to put a goalless home tie behind them and grab a win before United come knocking and the big fella needs to get back on the horse...

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By all accounts it was a nice draw for the neutral on Tuesday. I have to say I don't think I've ever been at a more entertaining Arsenal 0 – 0, although a win would clearly have been better. As expected Everton battled, made things tough, and in response we put ourselves about a bit too. It was pretty much all as expected, but as time went on you could sense the manager's mood.

He went for it in a sense. Walcott and Gervinho departed, with the Ox and Podolski entering to try and help grab the goal we deserved. Yet Rosicky – so important for us, I believe – just kept jogging on the sidelines and was eventually deemed a risk not worth taking though we lacked the extra he'd bring. In Thursday night's press conference, all became clear; the boss said the Czech wasn't 100% fit, and against Everton a point was valuable.

Not so today. With perhaps the smallest of psychological edges over Tottenham, we go to Craven Cottage one point ahead and having played a game more. We certainly need the three points, and we may well be quite thankful our rivals face City side by the time Monday rolls around. Yet there's so little room for error, and with small doubts over the fitness of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla and Rosicky, not risking any of our more direct players would mean big shifts from whoever does start.

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It might not be an Everton. Fulham like to come out and play at home, and even being currently sat in the relative wilderness of tenth, the old line of having “nothing to play for” just doesn't ring true. Granted they may not be grabbing at the coat-tails of Europe, but with a county-sized amount of TV cash arriving next year, Jol's team will want to finish as high as they can. Not to mention that a 3 – 0 home beating by their West London neighbours will likely have stoked their fires.

From our perspective, dwelling on things is the worst thing we can do at the moment. And particularly for Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman has had a fine first season by all but the the harshest of accounts. Now he must only have a mind for the next game and put his misses against Everton well and truly behind him. Being a forward at a club such as Arsenal will always put you in the limelight (Francis Jeffers would know). But when the team fails to score that light shines more intensely.

Tomorrow's short trip might be favourable for Giroud, but with Fulham a team with an inclination to attack – well, to get the ball to Berbatov...not as much to Petric – whosoever finds themselves on the wings may have space and width to exploit. That can only be good for our combined goal-threat, and if Fulham decide to sit back at any point then we have to test their organisation.

Making predictions is largely fool's game, but I don't think I'm alone in feeling we'll get chances at the Cottage. The questions are “how many?” and, as we saw on Tuesday, “can we convert them?”. The answers are hopefully “a few” and “yes”. Even if it's one we simply need to make it count. United visit next week, and as tough as that may be we need to deal with that when it comes. For now it's Fulham, and three points that we need to take. The games are running out and a win is simply crucial.