It's late in the game against Stoke. The ball comes down the left and Olivier Giroud takes a look up to spot the keeper off his line. His instinct kicks in, and he strikes it brilliantly. But for a couple of inches, that would have been Giroud breaking his Arsenal duck in spectacular fashion. After the match the common consensus was that he should have squared it for Aaron Ramsey in yards of space in the centre. That's Aaron "Can't Hit A Cows A*se" Ramsey, mind you. We all know that if Giroud had squared that ball then Rambo would have tw*tted it high, wide and not-so handsome. Sod that. Call me old fashioned, but I want my strikers to try and score goals, and the fact that Giroud tried to do so in such audacious fashion, in his second game for his new club no less, shows that he has the ambition, audacity and mental strength to become an Arsenal great.
France fans don't seem to think so right now. Just one goal in eleven international appearances culminated in him being booed off by his own fans during France's 3-1 win over Belarus. In riposte Giroud has said he "tries not to listen to the fans". Good. He shouldn't.
Why do we boo? Why do we feel the need to vent our anger towards a player when a player hasn't performed? Do we think it'll help them? Do we think it'll make them sit up and think "Geez, didn't like the crowd booing me, I better not be sh*t next game". I won't pretend to know what goes through a footballers mind during a game, but I'd think that a striker would want to up his game regardless of what noises he was hearing from the terraces. I bet whether Olivier Giroud was playing in front of 60,000 fans for his country, or playing 5-a-side in training, he'd want to score goals. Booing isn't going to help him, if anything, it'll have the opposite effect.
Giroud has some of the worst celebrations known to man. He can cut that out right now.
And yet, already I've heard talk of Giroud being "the new Chamakh", a striker who had a great start to his Arsenal career remember, but lost his bottle trying to compete with Robin Van Persie, and whose Arsenal career now seems to be dead in the water. After three games without scoring. Not three games where he didn't put a shift in, or get into great positions, or link up well with his brand new team mates in a brand new division, just three games without hitting the back of the net. It's madness. How long did it take before Dennis Bergkamp cemented his reputation at Highbury? I remember Thierry Henry missing sitters after he joined too. We didn't boo them, we got behind them, and the team, and look what happened.
What I've loved about watching Giroud so far is just how obvious it is that he's trying to adapt his game to fit into how Arsenal are developing. At Montpellier he was a great focal point, admittedly feeding off long balls and crosses, but he scored different goals too, audacious, stylish goals, like the one he so nearly scored against Stoke. He's going to have to work harder at Arsenal for his chances, he'll have to drop deep and link up with Cazorla and Podolski, but that's exactly what he's trying to do. Moreover, he's been learning English, seems jovial in interviews, and generally looks like a grafter, and really, that's all I care about when I watch someone play. I want to see them working hard, that's more important than a goal return in my eyes.
So if Arsenal fans follow the French lead and start booing our new number 12 then something is seriously wrong. Giroud's no Van Persie, I grant you, but who is? Giroud's different, but that's not to say he won't be better. As long as he keeps trying those shots and getting into those positions then he will score goals, mark my words. There is a downside to him getting off the mark, however. As this video proves, Giroud has some of the worst celebrations known to man. He can cut that out right now.
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