Going into their Premier League game against bottom-of-the-table Sunderland, Arsenal needed to bounce back and win in order to move past what as a disappointing loss to Bayern Munich midweek in the Champions League Round of 16. Similarly, Olivier Giroud needed to bounce back with a solid performance himself.
Last Sunday, one of the English papers published a photo of Giroud in the company of a woman who is not his wife in a hotel room. While this tabloid appearance was not the reason that Giroud did not play in Arsenal 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool last Sunday, it goes without saying that this “scandal” played a role in seeing Arsene Wenger having selected Yaya Sanogo as the starting forward in the game against Bayern Munich.
With all eyes focused on him from the beginning, Giroud went about making people forget everything that surrounded around him off the field of play by delivering in what was a 4-1 Arsenal win over Sunderland. Giroud did well to slot home an early goal courtesy of a fine pass from Jack Wilshere to give Arsenal the lead five minutes into the game. This early goal allowed Arsenal and Giroud to settle into the game.
Giroud capped off his fine day with a second score at the 31st minute when he pounced on a badly hit back pass by the Sunderland defense, and then turned in an assist on Arsenal’s third goal as he fed Tomas Rosicky. For Giroud, it was a great game because even though he apologized for the report, there were still questions about his focus.
For Arsenal and their fans, Giroud’s play means they will not have to worry about having a player who is not fully concentrated to the task at hand; against Sunderland, he showed that he is fully committed.