Thierry Henry is an Arsenal legend and one of the greatest strikers ever to grace the Premier League. He is not infallible however, and his comments about Olivier Giroud following our goalless draw with Chelsea this past weekend were more than a little unfair.
The ex-Gunner was understandably disappointed that we weren’t able to get the win against our London rivals – as all Arsenal fans were. He went on to say that we were incapable of winning the league with Olivier Giroud leading the line however (via the Daily Mail), and based on his statistics this season, that analysis seems harsh.
Giroud has been in fine form this season, scoring 14 Premier League goals. He has played a major role in our resurgent second half of the season, and we are very obviously a far better team with him in the side.
His superb goal tally is excellent in itself – with the 28-year-old currently among the top five goalscorers in the English top flight – but the fact that he missed three months of the season with a broken foot makes it all the more impressive.
The French international unquestionably has his weaknesses, with his complete lack of pace an obvious one. He makes up for it though, with his movement, strength, aerial presence, linkup play, and most recently, his finishing.
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He has been criticised in the past for his lack of goals, and despite being our top scorer last season, was some way behind a number of other top Premier League hit men. This season he has been finding the back of the net with regularity however, and has a fantastic scoring rate of a goal every 110 minutes in the league (not to mention a goal every 97 minutes in all competitions).
Compare that figure to those around him in the goalscoring chart, and you start to see just how fantastic he’s been.
Diego Costa is on his way to lifting the Premier League title in his first season with Chelsea, and the Brazilian born Spaniard’s 19 goals in 24 appearances has given him a scoring rate of one goal every 103 minutes.
This number is matched by Sergio Aguero, whose 21 goals in 29 appearances for the reigning champions Manchester City have him as the league’s current top scorer.
Harry Kane may not be in a team that has (or ever will) win the Premier League, but the England international has still been earning rave reviews this season. His 20 goals in 30 league appearances means he has scored one goal every 111 minutes – marginally worse than Giroud.
These stats alone suggest that Henry may be wrong about Giroud, and this doesn’t even take into account everything else that his compatriot brings to the team.
One of his biggest strengths lies in bringing the rest of the forward line into play, a skill few other forwards can match. He ties the entire team together, and we have seen this season how much more successful we are when he replaces Danny Welbeck up front.
None of this is to say that we couldn’t improve on Giroud, and there are certainly more talented and more accomplished forwards out there. The former Montpellier man is certainly a top Premier League striker though, and with the right players around him, he boasts more than enough quality to help us to the title.
Welbeck is arguably not the backup that we need, and another top quality forward may be required in order to help carry some of the burden on Giroud’s broad shoulders.
Henry should look more closely at our HFB though, as although I respect and adore the King, I believe he is wrong with his analysis on this occasion.