I've read so much nonsense today about Olivier Giroud that I feel compelled to write.
There's been a lot of talk on justarsenal.com about what constitutes a proper number 9. I'd argue that at Arsenal, we've not had a traditional centre forward for such a long time that we've forgotten how to appreciate one.
It's ridiculous to compare Giroud to the best player of all time Thierry Henry, the equally unconventional Robin van Persie or the speed king Theo Walcott, when we should be thinking of John Radford or John Hartson. That kind of comparison would be a lot fairer, but impossible to make for those people who have only been following the game for a short while.
A traditional centre forward should be strong, good in the air and able to hold up play. Giroud can do all those things. I think he does it with a lot more finesse and technique than Hartson did, although I have to say I did like the big Welshman. Giroud's work rate is not unlike Radford's, so I'd argue that the Frenchman's one of the best proper number 9s that we've had at Arsenal.
I'm not going to pretend he played well in his last outing. However, let's not forget it was only a friendly and Giroud was not fully fit.
Additionally, centre forwards take ages to reach full maturity. I wouldn't expect Giroud to peak until he reaches the age of 29.
I've been saying all along that I expect Giroud to score 20 Premier League goals if he starts all 38 games. I haven't lost my faith yet despite the growing number of critics appearing on the Internet. I wonder if they'll be as visible if Giroud has another even more successful season.
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