Good morning to you, and happy Friday. We’re heading into the final Premier League game of the season and it all feels quite weird – like this season has absolutely flown by. Maybe that’s simply a by-product of me getting older, but whatever the reason our last game of the league season takes place on Sunday, the FA Cup final the following weekend and then … summer. Blimey.
Let’s start this morning with Olivier Giroud who has hit back at Thierry Henry after the comments the club’s record goalscorer made after the Chelsea game. He said Arsenal couldn’t win the league with Giroud in the team – something I disagreed with at the time. Not because I think Giroud is the best possible striker we can get, but because it seemed to single out a man who, at that time, was playing as well as anyone else in the team and whose goals had been an important part of the winning run we were on.
So, speaking to L’Equipe TV last night Giroud responded, saying:
I heard he was saying too many dull things. That was a bomb and it had its desired effect. t was surprising to hear him take apart the team. I say ‘team’ because it wasn’t just me, it was the spine. I think he’s wrong
I didn’t enjoy hearing it. Coming from an ex-France and Arsenal striker, it’s a shame. It was a bit easy for him to say that after Chelsea game. We were doing well, unbeaten in 10, my stats were good. It hurt my pride.
The unfortunate part of this from Giroud’s point of view is the timing. Since Henry’s comments he hasn’t scored a single goal. Now, some have suggested that his confidence took a knock because of what Henry said, and while I do think he’s a sensitive kind of guy, I don’t think that’s the reason he’s stopped scoring. If anything we can see from the comments he made last night that his pride was ‘wounded’ and that provokes a certain response. He’s not talking about how he was sitting in his room crying making mix-tapes for a lost love.
The team hasn’t scored in three games, there’s been something of a collective slump in form, and although he’s missed a couple of chances here and there, the reasons for his drought have little to do with what Thierry Henry said about him on Sky. However, I’d question his desire to hit back in such a public way, especially off the back of a 7 game run without a goal. The only real response he can give is on the pitch, by scoring. That’s it.
I think this interview is an illustration that he is a bit too sensitive. It’s understandable that he’d be upset or wounded by those comments and I don’t think they were particularly fair, but adding fuel to fire in this way is counter-productive. The answer is in that left foot and that big coiffured head of his. Use those things to put the ball into the back of the net and there’s your answer to what was said.
When the manager spoke about his transfer plans, and his desire to bring in ‘world class’ players, he said he wasn’t sure if that mythical 30 goal a season striker would be part of it. Firstly there’s the issue of who that is and if they’re available, but I tend to agree with Tim Stillman’s assessment that a player who can give us something extra from a wide position is probably the most the best way we can improve our goal-scoring efficiency.
For the last while we’ve played with a central midfielder in the wide-right attacking position, and while Ramsey can get you goals, it’s different from the player who can score and provide on a regular basis from out there. It’s part of the reason why I think we could move Theo Walcott on this summer and replace him with somebody who adds more to the team. And if you improve the service to your main striker in doing so …
Anyway, I suspect Giroud, if Welbeck is fit, will find himself rested for the game against West Brom, but he could make a significant point by scoring in a cup final. That would be a fine way to round off what has been a decent season overall for him.
He’s not the best striker we’ve ever had, but nor is he as hapless as people are trying to make out. The accusations that he’s not ‘WORLD CLASS’ are amusing because I genuinely don’t know anyone who has ever said he is. I know we live in a world where extremes of opinion are far too prevalent but right now he’s very much in the ‘you’re only as good as your last game’ territory and it’s down to him to change that.
Right then, time for the Arsecast and on this week’s show I look back on an underwhelming week from a footballing point of view, make a shocking discovery about the Manchester United manager, and chat to Philippe Auclair about our recent form, midfield balance, Jack Wilshere, where the team needs to be strengthened in the summer, the ‘world class striker’ issue, who is going to play in goal in the FA Cup final and lots more. There’s all the usual waffle in there too, just for balance.
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Ok, we’ll have all the stuff from the manager’s press conference over on Arseblog News throughout the day, and the Gent should be here with his weekly round-up.
It’s a big day here in Ireland. #YES it is.