Things had been looking up for Arsenal in recent weeks, but we were brought crashing back down to earth after an abysmal showing against AS Monaco in the Champions League.
Olivier Giroud has been on fire since returning from injury, but his performance against the Ligue 1 side during our 3-1 loss was arguably his worst in an Arsenal shirt. So how does a player in such fine form suddenly produce such a woeful display?
The Frenchman has been criticised before over his lack of impact in big games, and any impact he had against Monaco was of the negative kind.
This article in the Telegraph shows just how poor the 28-year-old has been against decent opposition, with stats showing his total goals as well as his goals per game ratio.
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In the Premier League, FA Cup, and the League Cup, Giroud has a very respectable record of a goal every other game against most sides.
His record against the English top flight’s ‘big four’ and in the Champions League however, make for far worse reading – with a goal every five games and a goal just short of every three games respectively.
It’s totally understandable that Giroud would score less goals against the likes of Chelsea and Bayern Munich than he would against say Aston Villa or Middlesbrough, as he is coming up against better opposition. The problem is however, that his failure to score has often not been down to less chances being created, but due to his finishing bizarrely abandoning him.
The former Montpellier man had a number of chances put on a plate for him against Monaco, and failed to get a single one on target. He had opportunities that you would normally bet your house on most players to score, but consistently fluffed his lines.
A cut back from Danny Welbeck and a near post flick went sailing high and wide respectively, and while falling to his weak foot meant they weren’t the easiest of chances, he still should have converted them.
Things got easier from there, but despite getting a free header in the box from six yards out he still managed to totally miss the target.
The worst of them all was when he pounced on a rebound and had an open goal gaping in front of him, but somehow contrived to spoon his shot over the bar.
I am a huge fan of Olivier Giroud, and have staunchly defended him from unfair criticism in the past. He cannot be excused for his performance on Wednesday night however, and needs to step up in future big games.
He is an excellent option to have available, and I still think he is our best striking option at present. We need a world class forward to take us to the next level however, and it’s an issue Arsene Wenger has to address in the summer.