An Ode to Oliver Giroud: Talented, Passionate and Hard-Working Giant from the Alps.

Olivier-Giroud-celebrates-scoring-his-sides-second-goal

“Every human being must be viewed according to what it is good for. For not one of us, no, not one, is perfect. And were we to love none who had imperfection, this world would be a desert for our love. ” Thomas Jefferson.

One day when Oliver was still un petit garcon, he looked to the heavens and asked: “God will I become a world class footballer?” He was on his own in one of those fine summer meadows on the fringes of Chambery, where he was born. He had a real shock when the Divinity responded instantly and said: “Ollie, you will one day play at the home of football and play football as it should be played: full on attacking football that makes 60000 fans go ooh and aah and ohlala”. “So I will be a star then, dear God, and be loved by all the fans?” “Eventually my son, eventually you will.”

It is fair to say that Giroud has had his critics, and he still has them. A beast in the air, and a left foot that has both power and feeling was not enough to win over all the fans. He also offered passion and energy and was a true team player; happy to play with his back to the goal and bring others in to the game and create space for them, Ollie made things happen for the team and himself. But like almost every footballer, Giroud had one or two imperfections.

He was no Van Persie who had most of what Giroud had but was also fast and could take on defenders with the ball at his feet. And it was that lack of speed that stood out negatively and made some fans believe his was not good enough for the shirt. Well, he survived 5.5 season and he scored many good and important goals for us: 105 goals in 253 games is a fine return on its own. But Giroud’s role was much more than scoring goals. He was asked to play with his back towards goal and function as an attacking hub, bringing in others, creating space for fellow attackers and midfielders and give everyone a pivot in attack to aim at. With Giroud on the pitch there was a plan and structure to our attack and we know we had a fighter up there who defended the shirt with all he got, whether we played at home or away.

And all that effort was not only rewarded by a good goal-return per game; it also led to some of the most memorable goals of the last decade (some scored for France):

I know he is not as good as Thierry, Van Basten, RvP, Drogba etc etc, but I salute a man who gives everything and squeezes every bit of talent he has into his performances on the pitch. And that’s what Oliver Giroud did in each and every game. For me, he should never have left and retire at the club… but it was not to be.

All the best, Ollie G, and thanks for the great goals, assists and pre-assists and never-say-die-attitude! You were a true Gunner!

By TotalArsenal.

 

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32 Responses to An Ode to Oliver Giroud: Talented, Passionate and Hard-Working Giant from the Alps.

  1. retsub1 says:

    Well said T A 100pc agree with you

  2. Femi Boyede says:

    This is an apt assessment of Ollie, this thoroughbred Professional who has transformed into a darling to all veritable fans. fare thee well and ride briskly into a bright future, wherever that is…

  3. jw1 says:

    So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
    You’re waiting for someone to perform with
    And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey Jude, you’ll do
    The movement you need is on your shoulder.

    The post is wonderful sentiment on your part TA– relating to us what the man meant to the club– one more time.

    Inspiring the lyrical excerpt above.
    Apropos, I think.

    jw1

  4. Amith Nambiar says:

  5. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well done, TA, and your affection for the big fellow has been very consistent (down through all the seasons, five and a half of them, I think it was). I always liked him in the line-up from the kick-off, so Ollie as plan b never quite sat with me, even if it sometimes worked out well. I often felt the team needed some extra minutes to get used to the sort of football they had to play with him as the spearhead.

    With Giroud in as a retro #9, our football probably had to seen as a regression by many. I actually think that, for his size, he wasn’t quite the target man he should have been and all too often the route one stuff didn’t find his head. (Bacary Sagna was oftentimes the better target for the long ball, before he left…) Ollie got fouled a lot, however, on those sorts of plays, but I always knew he wasn’t really hurt if he did that finger-flicking “ooh ooh, the pain, the pain” thing of his… Overall, he was quite durable and, as everybody is noting, always gave his all when he was on the pitch. I really valued his presence defending corner kicks. A big guy at the near post always makes things harder for the opposition. I also liked his back to goal work, which I thought was particularly good with little Santi Carzola coming in tight and taking balls off his toes as he shielded defenders away. And, of course, he did score the odd impressive (to extremely impressive) goal for us.

    Seeing him going to Chelsea hurts and seems the only truly unpalatable part of this huge January shake-up. We’ve just gotta trust that it was worth it… Let’s play ’em one at a time and hope for the best, I say.

    Nah, nah, nah, nanana, nah, Giroud…

    Nah, nah, nah, nanana, nah, gonna miss you…

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Thank you all for your contributions. 🙂

    Seventeenho, yes his defensive contributions were very important too – and very much missed this season.

  7. Don'treadthes*n says:

    A player who offered something very different to anyone else around. For me his best quality was the lay offs touches and flicks in and around the box, quite different to other ‘Big men’ in the prem. I think he wanted to stay in London, and you have to respect the fact he was unlikely to get muçh game time if he stayed with us. I wish him well.

  8. njk84sg says:

    Few can match his ball holding and alot of our aerial balls were won through him.
    We will miss you, and it remains to be seen if Auba can match your aerial capabilities.

    All i can say is i blame Wenger for letting him go.

  9. Don'treadthes*n says:

    I think we should respect he always gave his all and needed a move to get a look in for last big tournamount. Also, one door closes and all that. Eddie has a look in at super sub role am well up for that.

  10. Jnyc says:

    I’m going to cheer for all of our ex-gunners. Coquelin, Gabriel, Theo, Olivier, even Debuchy, who was so unlucky.

    The last post had comments saying( maybe facetiously) that we had a plan all along.
    But, i think our new executives made something great out of a bad situation.

    I’m thrilled with the future outlook, but not thrilled where we are in the table, or overall performance.

    I’m not happy that Sanchez went for the equivalent of 30 mil, (though I like mkhitaryan).. Alexis is an 80 million dollar player if there is one, while schlubs like Morata and Lukaku go for 75mil, I’m being conservative in the estimate. Plus, he didnt provide much beyond discord for the 1st half of this season.

    Also, to cover the salaries of the new players and Ozils new contract, we sold Giroud and Theo for roughly half their value. Anyone who wants to debate that, look at premier league proven players with their production stats… goals and assists.
    How much did Sigurdsson go for? 40 or 50 million. And Theo has the English premium over him too. Even fat Sam bragged about the great deal they made for Walcott. Olivier worth much more, but we were boxed in by the situation.

    I’m just playing devils advocate again. Because in today’s market, Aubameyang is also worth much more than we paid. I can’t understand why no one came for him a couple years back. I wonder what scouts think? I don’t care, because I’ve always been a fan of his, and production is worth a lot.

    I want Jack to stay, and to work on the defense somehow, whether through acquisitions or coaching.

    The Swansea result I didn’t get to watch, but reminds me of the performances early last year that made me feel Arsene is not getting the best out of the players anymore. Maybe we need someone new to make the remaining changes.

  11. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. So sentimental post TA..
    Yes we will missed our handsome man..
    But he deserve that.. Just can say goodbye and good luck..

    Jnyc.. No Ox there..?? Hehehe..
    JK.. No CF like Giroud.. Not even Aubameyang.. So don’t ever dream of it..
    Auba provides speed and great finished..

    I think Sanchez will miss him more than others.. Hehehe..
    Lucky for Hazzard I think.. He will be like born again.. And score more goals..
    I bet Conte will play 4-4-1-1 or 3-5-1-1 with Hazzard behind Giroud..
    He used to play that with Morata.. But Morata ain’t Giroud.. Hehehe..

  12. Pony Eye says:

    Giroud is missed but …… we can’t eat our cake and have it. I believe we are rebuilding with the aim to become a top team and thats too bad for sentiment. We have handled only the attack side of the rebuilding. There is still the defence and the central mid to take care of. We just have to brace up for some more I-feel-for–you departures.

    I felt for le Coq, Theo and Giroud only.

  13. jw1 says:

    No J. Not facetiously.
    I’ll stick to the premise that there is a plan in place.

    Intelligent, successful individuals, are not suddenly dimwits. Because they don’t subscribe to lazy, superficial, media-driven expectations. Give one plausible reason why there is no discord inside the Arsenal organization? Why have no recent former players or staff have expressed views of incompetence or mismanagement?

    Nobody with professional career ambition like Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi and Huss Famhy– and former players like Jens Lehmann and soon-to-be Per Mertesacker– would sign on and board a sinking ship. Why are all of these circumstances– these high-profile individuals– not emitting signals of alarm from inside the camp?

    Because they have evidence of a model. Of a plan.

    Or what? That they’re just here until it blows up? Nicking a living?
    You’re welcome to think that.
    But don’t use the word facetious when describing my opinion.

    jw1

  14. geoffchase says:

    Hmm

    Mixed reviews… I think he did great for us, and the ~20 goals a season how can one say otherwise. However, the big, it negates all before it, however… oddly, I don’t think he ever “fit”. He could be made to fit or we could say how he’d fit if we played more one way or another, but…

    AW has always been about flow, and OG didn’t have that speed. So, hold, slow and distribute back to the flow? He wasn’t built to cut open défenses like Thierry and RVP, he was made to batter thru them or to poach thru strength in the air or around the box. Or to hold and dish to someone to do the same.

    Just not Bergkampesque with no speed or flow to it. Presence! Yes! Flow? Not really. Surrounding him with ultimate flow players like Ozil, AR, JW, Sanchez, or cut them open duellists like Ozil and Cazorla and more lately Xhaka … again a good fit to an extent but not great.

    IMO, he overachieved for who and a team he is with us, and did very well for the Jersey. On heart alone he’s a legend, but maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t the right choice in the first place? All,the more credit to him btw…

    Now, we are better aligned in our attack, at least on paper, so,we will see…

    PS: I think he won’t do as much at Chelsea as at Arsenal. Same for Alexis at MU … I’m calling it now…

    PPS: TA, I think we actually agreed on C in that last post! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Great overnight comments, cheers. 🙂

    I am convinced that Wenger did not try to work around Giroud (lack of speed) but he got Ollie to play a different sort of football. He had already tried it with Chamakh when the Judas was long term injured and we scored on average 2.3 goals a game. The whole idea was to spread the scoring rather than be so dependent on the one prolific CF, like it was with vP. It was about getting goals from midfield and the flanks (in a 4-5-1 formation).

    Johnnie, whether there was a plan or not, and I definitely believe there was one, the club orchestrated a transformation in just 30 days. We now can field: Ozil, Laca, Mkhi and PEA, all on long-term contracts, in our attack. Stuff of dreams my friend, stuff of dreams.

    I do worry about our defending (not our defence) and we just need to get the DM pivot right. This is a matter of discipline and player-combo for the rest of the season. I have to say that Xhaka has not played well most of the season and for me he is only effective when we play him deep, rather than in front of a deep laying midfielder. I reckon we cannot afford to play just one midfielder in front of the back four; it has to be two. So for me it is either Xhaka-Jack or Elneny-Jack in the pivot. What that means for Rambo, I don’t know, but I don’t think he is suitable to play in the double pivot. He could possibly swap places from game to game with either Ozil or Henrikh…

    It is not just to do with sentiment, PE. Giroud was our tried and tested plan B and what is it now?

  16. njk84sg says:

    TA, we need Eddie to be our new plan B. Just train him up and he can be the poacher if our original poacher is not working.

    Ko Henry, true enough. We do not have anyone as strong as Ollie in the club now.

  17. jw1 says:

    JK–
    Beat me to it. May not be the ‘same type’ of plan B. (And Ollie was unique. Even at 31 many PL teams courted him these last 18 months.) But a deep group with talent provides options.
    Maybe it becomes Ramsey with his knack for late goals. Or as you offer up, Eddie– who comes on for Laca to provide a pair of poacher types up front. Maybe it becomes Lacazette, augmenting the CF role in EL ties this Spring. Or someone not yet on the radar.

    (Just where is Lord Bendtner these days? 🙄 )

    jw1

  18. Goonereris says:

    Great article in honour of Olivier Giroud as he (had to) left the club in the winter window. For a man who initially divided opinion as fans struggled to adjust to his rather laboured style, having been served up the “Caviar” level style that was RvP, for so long. Slowly, he began to gain the trust of everyone and became a real fan favourite, earning a reputation as a positive dressing room influence.

    As 17HT pointed out too, he was very important when we defended set pieces (so was RvP, even if understated) as you only need to see his stats for headed clearances to see how many times he’s helped us avoid dangerous situations. Szczesny will always point for him to position himself a few metres from the front post and the ball seemed to get attracted to him in that position. His ‘late goals’ record is also amazing. We will all miss him but need to accept that it was also in his own interest to leave, as we have chosen the path of upgrades as we move into a crucial stage in the recent history of the club (striving to get back into CL and winning a trophy or two this season), given the set-backs we’ve had with trying to improve our current league position. I think the club only did right by him to let him go to a club of his choice, remaining in London and probably on bigger wages plus a sign on fee.

    I wish him well at Chelsea for the (hopefully initial) 18 months he has to play there. It’s also good we don’t have to come against him this season. Even Theo Walcott sent him a beautiful farewell message (did any of the players send Alexis Sanchez a farewell tweet?).

    So long, big man.

  19. Goonereris says:

    TA, I really do feel Wenger had to adapt our more familiar fast paced, ball on the ground, nippy, all out offensive style to suit Olivier Giroud’s skill set. It is because of Giroud we had our keepers kick out so many long balls, a routine we now struggle to unlearn since Lacazette became 1st choice top striker.

    We adopted more long ball routines and would cross more balls when chasing a goal/game, when we have Giroud on. His great hold up play meant it was easier to play off him. We did these for so many years now, it is hard to unlearn the approach we were used to; I expect this to change after a good pre-season drilling.

  20. Goonereris says:

    Excerpts from Arsène wenger’s presser on the decision to sell Giroud to a rival:

    “We owed him a lot. His commitment, his dedication and love for the club was exceptional.

    “It was linked with the Aubameyang deal and he has just had a third baby so it was difficult on the family side for him to leave London. It was difficult to turn down [Chelsea’s offer] just because it is an opponent.
    “He was massively popular in the dressing room and the club, for all the players that left it was sad to see them go, but Olivier wanted more playing time – he wants as well to go to the World Cup.

    “That is why I opened the door.”

  21. jw1 says:

    Arsenal name Santi Cazorla to Europa League squad!
    Makes my day.

    jw1

  22. Goonereris says:

    Well, jw1, it looks like more because we could afford to stick his name in rather than some “new” diagnosis on his condition. With the number of B team players we could throw on, there was room for more A team players, from what one could glean from the list.

    Still, how nice it will be if he were to be fit towards the semi finals of the Europa league competition, especially if we reach that stage.

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Eris, I am convinced Wenger chose OG to play him as a holding CF, and Ozil and then Sanchez would play off him to make a very successful, multi-facetted attack. It would make us less predictable and less dependent on the one striker. I remember Gazidis stating that RvP was allowed to leave by Wenger for tactical reasons.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    It is easy to have a ‘Plan B’; it is much harder to have a proven ‘Plan B’….

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Speaking of plan b… PEA has caught whatever Jack had in midweek?… As such, a debut off the bench only (shades of Mkhi at Swansea)?… Laca with one last chance to try and keep a spot in the first 11? Wenger (from inside Sam’s pocket…) set to regret Theo’s transfer? So (so) many questions…

    As JK might say, “Where’s the match preview!?!”

    😉

  26. Pony Eye says:

    I worry that we are still missing a conductor from deep, an athletic Arteta, the brain box of the team. Ozil is perfect for that but only when we have the ball. Can we go 4:2:1:3 with Ozil as the “1” moving vertically between the “2” and the “3”?

    That gives say;

    ———-Cech———-
    Bel Kosh Must Nacho
    ——Xhak—Jack——
    ————Ozil———–
    Miki—–Auba—–Laca

    Without doubt Ozil brings greater intelligence to our play, more pronounced when he drops deep. Again during offense Ozil is more effective when he has more bodies in front of him. But this is just trying to make the best of an inadequate CM. The offensive phase of our game needs a deep lying playmaker who acts as the conductor of the team. Wenger must have thought he found him in Xhaka but he is neither a conductor or athletic enough. Am talking of a Xavi Alonso.

  27. Pony Eye says:

    That front 3 can be switched around. Auba as a wide striker (Henryesque) might prove the best with Laca at centre.

    Miki Laca Auba.

  28. jw1 says:

    17HT– re: supersubbing!
    Applying Occam’s Razor* to the musical chairs personnel conundrum– and to not overthink it. Aaron Ramsey has by far the most qualities required to fit in as a supersub among the front-5 (excluding CF).

    Ramsey can play any of the other front-5 spots– can work in the box– and his marauding isn’t as great a defensive liability when chasing a result. Wenger has option to replace any of his attackers (excluding CF).

    Also works to keeping Ramsey’s famed hamstrings from redlining as often, if he’s getting 30 minutes max in most appearances. Can spot-start when required. And not unlike Giroud– in limiting minutes-per-appearance. In that it could serve to lengthen his career at the top-level.

    jw1

    *Supposing there exist two (or more) explanations for an occurrence.
    Generally, the simpler one is usually better (or correct).

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Ramsey as a supersub is a great idea. Not sure whether he would like it, but he can always just leave this summer…

  30. jw1 says:

    Eris–
    I’m clear on the near-symbolic nature of Cazorla’s addition.
    But I’m a big fan of sheer will and unconditional support.

    jw1

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, I was just out with the puppy in absurd winter weather here (warm and sunny) and thinking about Rambo… He does seem like the guy who might get squeezed out (despite being given the full ninety in midweek)… And, he’ll need to make the most of his minutes, big time, if he’s looking to be next one to force the issue and wrench a sizable contract out of the club. Being out of the WC, of course, means his career contributions (and second half of the season stuff–as well as his iffy durability issues) get weighed against the “next big thing” folks will see in Russia. It’s an entertainment business, let’s not forget… Retsub, however, made a strong point about him very likely having the highest goal total amongst current Arsenal players (sorry, can’t be arsed to confirm this today)… Keep ’em coming, Aaron…and that supersub role is now yours…

    I was also thinking about the players out (and in) and who moves up the pecking order given that the number of outs was so high… My avatar guy (Elneny, I really should update the photo, the hair is now totally different…) looks a big one. I still need to watch all of that league cup semi match where so many gave him MOTM–and where it seems he could switch between MF and CB. (Subbing him out at Swans, backfired, it seems…) Iwobi, clearly, is also one we’ll be counting upon, even as much as he’s being slated in the Goonersphere. AMN, too… We all like to cram our favorites into first 11s but it’s really about who (the manager thinks) can produce and competition for places, all the more complicated due Wenger’s more fluid formations since the back 3 (5) experiments, could be intense with the new (big money) players wanting their time.

    It all begs the question about who our new signings replace. We need Alexis’ goals but we don’t need a left winger who always does the same thing (cut back inside onto his right foot). Yes, Lacazette is probably the most like-for-like but I see more of a 442 where (if) he plays (it could be) alongside PEA. Who then are the four in MF, i.e., who does Mhki replace? Check the physio-room/sick-bay. Uh oh, it’s Jack. Elneny, Xhaka, Mkhi and Ozil at nil-nil, with Rambo to save the day. Jack could also be a good late addition in our games. He can break the lines if we need goals, and, if he works on it and/or stays focused, he could help kill a winning score-line with possession play. That’s tough on (what’s left of) the Brit-core, but that’s where I think we could be headed.

    Another fan favorite, Nacho, despite being Johnny-on-the-spot to score the goal vs Swansea, had a torrid time with more mundane LB duties in that game and contributed mightily to the Jacks’ two final goals. If one of our highest paid guys (Kolasinac) starts getting playing time, it could be at the expense of Monreal, though Nacho could also spell Kos on occasion as a CB. Again, a back (3) 5 looks nice for including those favorites (i.e., Kos and the Beast plus Nacho) but more hated types, Mustafi and Bellerin look (to me…and AW, I think…) to be undroppable. Anyhow, there could be some interesting (and not very popular) changes in the offing (akin to Giroud to Chelsea, perhaps?…) and I’ll trust the manager to get it right. He needs to, sooner than later. As he’s (recently) said, we can’t afford any more losses…

    OK, where’s that preview?.. More winkies…

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