Out-of-favour Arsenal star Olivier Giroud simply cannot catch a break right now. The Frenchman was selected for the national squad despite enduring indifferent form so far this season, and was given a vote of confidence by France coach Didier Deschamps, who backed him to start performing once he gets some playing time under his belt (via The Evening Standard).
But in yesterday’s friendly against Armenia, the striker was on the bench for the majority of the game as France fielded a full strength side against the minnows. France have automatically qualified for Euro 2016 as hosts, and thus do not have to play any qualifiers. The friendlies they play instead seem to be the ideal opportunity to give players like Giroud some time on the field, but it was not to be.
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema was the preferred starter as France controlled the game, scoring twice in the first half via Antoine Griezmann and Yohan Cabaye. Benzema then showed off his finishing skills with a quickfire double, scoring twice in three minutes as France sailed home 4-0.
Obviously Benzema is France’s first choice forward, no question about that; his performances yesterday only served to cement his place. Giroud has had to be content with his role as the backup striker, but he seems to be swiftly losing that status as well – the manager chose to bring on Manchester United sensation Anthony Martial as his first substitute yesterday, in place of Griezmann. Giroud only came on for the final ten minutes, and only because Benzema had to be taken off due to injury (via Goal.com).
It will have done little to boost the waning confidence of the player, but he cannot dispute the manager’s choice. Currently, both Benzema and Martial are in form, while Giroud looks unlikely to displace Theo Walcott from the Arsenal starting lineup anytime soon. If he does not get to play for France either, it becomes tough to see him mounting a strong comeback.
There is a sliver of hope however, as Benzema has reportedly picked up a hamstring injury (via Goal) and will probably not feature in France’s upcoming game against Denmark. Provided the manager does not go with Martial in the starting lineup, Giroud has a chance of playing for the full 90 minutes. If this comes to pass, hopefully the striker can notch up a goal or two.