Nobody can dispute the fact that Olivier Giroud had an absolute nightmare against AS Monaco in our Champions League last 16 clash, but removing the Frenchman on the hour mark might not have been the solution.
Arsenal’s Rebuilding Job: Three Quality Signings Wenger Could Make With £50m Budget, Including Man Utd Target
WTF? Arsenal Boss Wenger Plans New Contract For Injury-Plagued Midfielder
The 28-year-old had a number of superb chances, and on any other day you would have put your house on him to score at least one of them.
The fact that he has been in such fine form recently only made the missed opportunities more of a mystery, but the look on his face when he was withdrawn was certainly one of relief.
There are a number of reasons why replacing the powerful forward was a mistake however, and the change in personnel on the night did very little to benefit us.
- [Match Highlights] Arsenal v BATE Borisov – All The Goals And Best Bits
- [Player Ratings] Arsenal 3-0 BATE – Gunners Seal Spot In Europa League Last 16
- [Confirmed Lineups] Arsenal v BATE Borisov – Ozil Stars For Gunners
Giroud may have missed a number of gilt edged chances, but he wouldn’t even have been able to miss those chances if he weren’t getting into the right positions. He was constantly losing the defenders and finding space, and you have to wonder if eventually he would have taken one of the opportunities presented to him.
Theo Walcott looked dangerous on his introduction, but he wasn’t a like for like replacement for the big man. Instead he was pushed out wide, with Danny Welbeck taking the lone striking mantle from Giroud.
The £16m deadline day signing has shown glimpses of quality in an Arsenal shirt, but no matter how you look at it he is inferior to Giroud. His pace is obviously a bonus, but it means very little when his off the ball movement is so poor.
The kind of finishing our French forward was showing against Monaco is the kind of finishing we see regularly from Welbeck, and despite Giroud having a poor game, we still looked a weaker side without him on the field.
Whether he would have scored if left on or not, Giroud still offers far more to the team than Welbeck. He allows us a presence in the final third without having to commit too many bodies forward, and without him we regularly leave ourselves exposed.
Aside from any impact he may have had on the night, his substitution cannot have done much for his confidence. He is a player who thrives on it, and the chance to get a goal could have done him wonders.
Hopefully he is able to bounce back against Everton this Sunday, as we need him fully fit and firing for the remainder of the season.
The fact that withdrawing such an under-performing player can even be considered a mistake highlights our need for another striker. Giroud won’t always have a flawless game, and we need options when that is the case.
Whether we improve on the HFB or simply find a more suitable back-up, we need to dip our toes into the transfer market for a striker this summer.