The boys look to go into the clash with Chelsea high on confidence, after thrashing Coventry in a 6-1 rout. The high points of this match being Giroud’s goal and the chance for youth players, there are only positives to take away from the midweek cup tie.
Not that it impacted the final score greatly, but Giroud’s goal should be highlighted. Despite it holding little weight in the end result, it comes as a huge amount of pressure off his back before a big match. He’s broken his duck, and looks ready to score plenty more. What excites me about Giroud the most is his spatial intelligence, something that a centre forward often lacks. Most target man can’t pick a pass or find a pocket of space in a tight situation, but Giroud can. I compare him closely to Robert Lewandowski and Gonzalo Higuain in this sense, as the pair are prime examples of this rare sort of hybrid player. Olivier’s assist for Andrei Arshavin’s goal showcases his intelligence perfectly. Running into space to receive a pass from the Russian, then lobbing a pass for Andrei to finish off. Perfect.
“Even unconsciously I was thinking about this first goal. I tried not to think about it but my family, friends and a lot of people were talking to me about it.
“For a striker, it’s always good to find the net again. I have an assist already this season but it’s not like a goal. For a striker, it’s important for the confidence. I hope many more will follow.
Aside from praising Giroud, credit is due to Theo Walcott, who has fallen under intense criticism of his recent quotes suggesting his desire for a more central role. At times, you have to find yourself on the fence about Walcott, especially concerning his skill level. He’s either a V8 engine or a hamster when it comes to driving the attack, and it’s his lack of consistency that irks me the most. Considering he managed to score two goals from the wings this week shows that he’s not such a blunt knife out wide all the time, but you have to wonder how much better he could be with as a second striker driving down the middle of the pitch.
I’ve always been quick to criticise Walcott, but at the same time, you have to wonder why Arsène rarely ever plays Walcott in his preferred position, despite being open to it.
All in all, two players have proven their point, but the question remains in the back of my head: how would Walcott and Giroud play in tandem?