Olivier Giroud‘s increased aggression and desire has been the main factors in his impressive form so far this season for Arsenal.
The Frenchman had the hard task of replacing the then lethal Robin Van Persie as Arsenal’s sole striker last year. Add to the fact that it was his first season in English football, and it was perhaps harsh that some criticized him as being a waste of money. In reflection, £12 million now seems like a very good price.
He appears to have got a bit more used to the ‘rough and tumble’ way of the Premier League, realizing now he can thrive upon it and use his strength in combination with a clever mind when making runs. He is talented as we already know, so these little tweaks in his game means he is reaping the rewards.
It’s also obvious that he’s improved his patience. Last season, we would often see him simply wait for the ball, which would then be wasted with a wild attempt at goal. This campaign, his hold-up play is allowing others to show their best. It’s something that he has clearly recognized but also benefited from.
The aggression is the most obvious change. Just like the fight that Arsenal great Patrick Viera possessed and made use to his side, Giroud is becoming an example of exactly what the team was missing in recent seasons, but from the very front. He is taking the fight straight to the opposition in their most vulnerable place, the defense, and is showing that he has a desire to perform to the very best.
You could see this vs. Crystal Palace. He was having a tough game, being pushed about and receiving reasonably poor service. But, he managed to find the net and sealed the win. You could immediately see how fulfilling that was for him. The celebration was pure emotion, but with anger.
It may sound perhaps stupid and unimportant, but to have a player like Giroud who is truly committed to the cause and his own reputation means that a team has another leader — another man to inspire those around him even if it is subconscious.
Giroud may not look like he has the qualities currently of a Luis Suarez or Wayne Rooney, but his improvement and determination this year is extremely important to Arsenal’s success this year, not just the simple fact that he is scoring.