At the height of the 2013/2014 summer transfer window, with the speculations linking Gonzalo Higuian and Luis Suarez to Arsenal, there was a change in Oliver Giroud’s approach to games. He became more agressive and his early season form saw him score in consecutive league matches against Aston Villa, Fulham, Spurs and Sunderland.
After his goal scoring performance against Norwich, Arsene Wenger raised the point that the speculations linking the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez as well as the fact that the transfers fell through was a factor in Oliver Giroud’s early season form last year. He said:
“That was maybe a little bit his luck,” Wenger said on the failed transfers.
“Nobody came in, so you know at the start of the season that at least you get the chance to show how good you are. I always thought that his second season would be the decisive one. We have seen that many times – to adapt to the kind of game we play takes time. I was not too worried when we didn’t bring anyone in because I thought he had a chance to develop.”
That was Arsene Wenger on what was the factor behind Oliver Giroud early season form last season. Gonzalo Higuian and Luis Sanchez were never signed. Yet, he upped his game even in the absence any signing in the striking department.
Coming down to this close season, the signing of Alexis Sanchez, the recall of Joel Campbell from loan and a developing Yaya Sanogo, means there are actual players on ground who can push Oliver Giroud to up his game to another level.
For a start, he already lacks a vital ingredient that these players have which is pace. Something he would have to make up for in another way by adapting his game to the players around him. His goal against Manchester City in the Community Shield was another side of his game hitherto absent. He seldom scores from outside the box.
Which means he is already being pushed to produce something special in games, a situation aided by the competition that the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo would provide.
The fact these players have pace to burn means there is enough movement in the final third when they are fielded in a match, Oliver Giroud who lacks such qualities, would have to improve on his goals to chance ratio, which is poor especially in big games, where he missed some sitters last season.
The particular player that could push Oliver Giroud to the limit is Yaya Sanogo, if he adds goals to his game. Doing that would mean he has added the missing ingredients in his abilities, as he already has the pace, height and physicality to trouble any defender.
One key thing Yaya Sanogo, Alexis Sanchez and Joel Campbell would do is that they would make defenders to run backward because of their pace, Oliver Giroud’s lack of pace means he is always in front of defenders, without the ability to run behind. With these, the former Montepellier striker can be pushed to improve on his runs, and goals to chance ratio with the added competition avialable.