It was always going to be difficult to replace Robin Van Persie, and no one is feeling the pressure more than the man brought in to do so, Olivier Giroud. The misfiring Frenchman has now gone five games without a goal and his confidence is clearly low.
This has even led to Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin admitting that he would welcome back Giroud with ‘open arms.’ Montpellier are currently struggling themselves, after losing three matches out of their first five.
‘If a player leaves the club, I think that is usually that, but Olivier I would welcome back with open arms,’ said Nicollin.
Arsene Wenger admitted himself this week that Giroud was feeling the heat and that his ineffective start had started to frustrate him.
“I felt he was under a lot of pressure at the moment and sometimes it’s good to get a little breather,” said Wenger. “I just felt the time had come for him to not be under so much pressure.”
Wenger believes that Giroud only needs one goal to kick-start his career and I agree. He will continue to be compared to Van Persie until he starts scoring freely and showing the fans his true quality. He is a different player to Van Persie, and will shake off any tags once his confidence is flowing.
“It is obvious there is a comparison with Van Persie. The comparison is difficult but inevitable. And if you can’t score, you think you are not capable of standing comparison,” said Wenger. “However, I am happy with his behaviour and runs during the match. He is just missing one goal.”
Giroud does need time and the goals will come. With the creativty, skill and passing of Cazorla and Podolski, Giroud will have the chances. Also, it is important to remember that both Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie had slow starts to their careers at Arsenal. It took Henry nine games to score his first goal for the Gunners. Van Persie grabbed his first goal in his sixth game for the club.
Giroud believes that the goals will come and that the season will be a good one for him.
“It’s important to keep the faith and to always keep going, even if the goals have not come for me so far. You just need to keep concentrating on the game and never give up. I’m confident that this season will be a good one,” said Giroud.
A test of Arsene’s faith in the striker will be his selection for the clash at Manchester City. With a game of such importance, and with Gervinho’s recent performances, it may be that Giroud will start on the bench. One thing is for sure; if Giroud takes a chance late on to seal a victory, all before him will be forgotten.