Ahead of arsenal’s visit to the Villa Park where they would need all three points to return to the summit of the league table, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to French striker Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman has been missing in action for the Gunners since the Newcastle game where he scored the lone goal that bagged all three points and also suffered an ankle injury. Before the goal and injury, the Frenchman has been misfiring as he has been guilty of missing clear cut chances that have denied Arsenal valuable points.
Now that he is back, his manager has thrown his weight behind him to play a key role in Arsenal’s title bid. Hear Le Prof,
“He was a bit tired recently but now he is refreshed, he is back, and I am sure he will have a major impact on the second part of the season,” the Gunners boss told reporters.
“When you speak to the coaches after the game they say ‘oh, what a client he is’. He has qualities that the rest of the squad has not got. He always gives us that strength.
“We have small players who combine quickly, so to find someone who can hold it, keep the ball, make some room for other players. well he does that very well. He gives us a very good balance.
“[He reminds me of] Alan Smith in the way he holds up the ball, in his distribution and his goalscoring.”
“He’s a tough, tough boy. Even when the medical people say he should rest, he says: ‘I’m alright’. He needed five stitches after the game at Newcastle,” he added.
“He played the whole game there with an open ankle and without complaining. And when I took him off, he didn’t want to come off! He’s tough.
“He’s always ready for a fight, even when he’s tired.”
I can’t but agree with Wenger. Giroud is a tough player and deserves our applause rather than criticisms. He has led the line so well all through the 1st half of the season and deserved to be tired. I am happy he got the rest he deserved though he had to be injured before Wenger could take him off the firing line but now that he has rested amply and also fully recovered from the ankle injury, I believe he would return to the Giroud that was blazing early in the season.
That said, having Giroud back isn’t good enough reason why Wenger should ditch his plans of getting in another striker. This is the most crucial phase of the season, now, games would be decisive, difficult to win and coming thick and fast which means we would need as many legs as we can call on.
Giroud is good but needs a good back-up so that Arsenal’s title charge would not suffer should anything happen to the Frenchman and it is also crucial to tread cautiously with Giroud so that he doesn’t get burnt out ahead of the World Cup.