Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has gone on record to label Olivier Giroud as one of the best strikers in the Premier League after he bagged a brace against Newcastle to take his tally to 17 for the season.
Giroud isn’t mentioned alongside the likes of Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa in the conversation of the league’s most fearsome forwards, but the Frenchman has been answering his critics this season. He was reproached last season, despite scoring 22 goals in all competitions, for not scoring against the big teams more often.
This term however, Giroud has scored against Man United, Liverpool and Man City and also started the feeble fightback in Monaco last week.
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“Is he one of the best in the Premier League now? I think so,” Wenger said (via the Evening Standard).
“He is scoring the goals to prove it, he is a fighter as well and I believe he is a team player. He is always fighting for the team even when not scoring.
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“Of course it helps when you have the quality of players he has around him. When you are a striker you are fed by the people around you and the quality of balls he gets is very good. At 22 and 23 he played in division 3 in France and today he is at Arsenal. I believe there is still room for improvement.”
Many might baulk at Wenger’s statement, but few can deny Giroud’s efficiency especially when the numbers are heavily stacked in his favour.
After his double on Saturday, Giroud has now only two goals less than Diego Costa in all competitions, which is remarkable given that he spent three months on the sidelines with a broken leg.
In terms of the Premier League, according to Squawka, only Harry Kane has a higher goals ratio with Giroud netting 13 times in 19 appearances.
He may not be the explosive forward we have been used to in the past, but Giroud is delivering goals in his own unique way.