Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has had a nightmare of a season so far. The Frenchman has always had a problem with his conversion rate in front of goal, but the relative lack of competition for his place in the Arsenal side meant that he had more leeway for error. That changed at the end of the previous season, when Theo Walcott returned from injury in emphatic fashion to lay claim to the striker’s spot.
Arsene Wenger still picked his natural striker in the first few games of this season, but Giroud was unconvincing, often missing easy chances from close range. His performances for the national side were sub-par as well, so much so that he was booed off the pitch by his own fans after missing an attempt in a friendly against Serbia. And once he returned to the club, his poor run continued, as he was sent off against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and 10 man Arsenal eventually lost that game 2-1.
The manager chose to replace him with Theo Walcott, and the Englishman has produced a magnificent series of performances that have seen him become the unquestionable first choice at the Emirates. Giroud also finds his France spot under threat, as he has to compete with not only Karim Benzema and Alexandre Lacazette, but also Anthony Martial – who has had a blistering start to his Man United career.
The only bright spot for Giroud is that France manager Didier Deschamps chose to include him in the national squad, and will likely give him a game over the international break. The France manager admitted that the striker was extremely short on confidence, but Deschamps still thinks Giroud can come good and regain his position (via 20 minutes France).
“It’s hard, it’s a difficult time for him. Obviously, [his] confidence has declined,” he told the French website.
“The fact that he’s here however, this is also to say that I trust him.”
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Hopefully the trust shown by the France coach will allow Giroud to get back on his feet and net a few goals for Les Bleus. Until he does so however, it is tough to see him reclaiming the Arsenal starting spot, especially now that Walcott and Alexis Sanchez seem to have found their form.