When Giroud arrived at Arsenal, he looked like a big, clumsy bloke who looked so out of place with Arsenal’s attack that I would wince when I would see him try to keep up with the fast wingers. It was so pathetic that you just had to laugh although you had to admire his effort throughout the game. It didn’t help that he was not a natural finisher so missed plenty of sitters at the beginning.
However, knowing the way Wenger operates, I knew he had to bring in something to the table so I began to watch him keenly. I obviously noticed he was strong and so Arsenal suddenly had a target man to hold the ball up well and boy didn’t he do a fantastic job of that, then I noticed he had quite an astute pass for such a big guy that really brought midfielders in to play and all of a sudden the midfielders, most notably, Aaron Ramsey, started scoring goals as Giroud played them in.
By the end of the first season, it was surprising to find that Giroud actually had quite a respectable goal scoring record (I believe that he had the same record as Thierry Henry when he first arrived but don’t quote me). By the beginning of his second season, Giroud looked like he had adjusted to the Arsenal set up. He continued to prove to be very vital in his link up play with the midfielders around him. Still, he had not convinced every one of his abilities.
This season, Giroud missed the first part of the season and suddenly every fan realized how vital he was to the Arsenal team. Everyone is in agreement that if he had been available from the beginning, Arsenal might still have been in with a shout at the Premier League title. Arsenal did not have a plan B in his absence.
So what has changed? Giroud is leaner and fitter thus more mobile while still maintaining his strength, and he has also improved his finishing as demonstrated in the game against Newcastle with a smart finish from a Hector Bellerin cross. We are seeing a new improved Giroud who will prove invaluable for years to come.