Is it too late to re-sign Ollie Giroud?
Exactly 101 weeks ago, Oliver Giroud, L’Handsome, signed for the Chavs. We got Auba, Dortmund needed a replacement which they got from Chelsea and they wanted Giroud to fill the hole. OG worked well with Eden Hazard and played a pivotal role in the French national team that won the world cup in 2018. The move to the Chavs had worked out for him, even though he would rather have stayed at Arsenal by all accounts.
Wenger convinced him to make the move and Auba has been a success for us in terms of goals, so everybody should be happy, right?
Now he is even being linked with a ‘surprise’ move to the Catalonian gods of Barca to replace the shoulder muncher, who is out till the end of the season.
The point I tried to make for many years is that Giroud was a very important player for us. He had his limitations, just like his fellow world championship winning teammate, the BFG, but boy did he milk his qualities to the full and was he an asset to the team. I am really pleased to see that Ollie is getting the recognition for this from both Gooners and non-Gooners, and finishing his football career at Barcelona would surely be the icing on the club-cake?!
He made others better, more effective players by giving them options and making space for them. Very few attackers were better than him in finding the balance between playing with his back towards goal to enable others time and space with the ball, and yet scoring enough goals himself in the team set-up. Now look at Laca: he is trying hard to play with his back towards goal, for which he does not really have the body mass, but his goals have dried out. It really is an art and an unthankful role to play and OG12 simply excelled in it.
Ollie made Ozil and Sanchez the stars of the show without much appreciation it seems, especially from the Chilean firecracker.
Sanchez scored 8 goals in 20 Arsenal matches in the first half of the 2017-18 season; after that he managed just 5 in 45 games for Manchester United (in 1.5 season). MU did not have an Ozil, but they also did not have a Giroud to make space for him and connect with (although Lukaku could have been such a player, he was not used like that).
Over the last two seasons, Ozil’s assists have dried up. He is still our king of the key pass but very few are leading to goals these days, and it was all quite different when he was working with both Giroud and Alexis.
Many Gooners wanted an improvement on Giroud and they finally thought they got one when Auba signed.
However, we should be concerned about our lack of goals and dependency on Auba. PEA is the superior attacker to Giroud as his personal stats show, but there is more to football than individual goal tallies. Have we become too dependent on Auba? Our goals have dried up this season that is for sure and Auba is our only prolific striker, especially in the PL.
In 5.5 seasons Giroud managed to play a whopping 253 games for us, 46 games on average per season. He scored 105 goals, an average of 19 goals per season. OG was a work horse and his lack of athleticism and raw speed – to which the British football fans are totally addicted – never made him a favourite for all, but boy was he important to the team.
The biggest question to ask is have we actually become better as a team in terms of scoring goals since Giroud left and Auba arrived? GunnerN5 kindly did some statistical analysis for us and it turns out we have gone backwards: in the ‘Giroud era’ Arsenal scored on average 1.87 PL goals per game (in OG’s last two seasons at the home of football it was even higher at 1.99!). In the ‘Auba era’ it is just 1.63 goals per game (with just 1.33 goals per game this season).
Could Ollie return? Should he return to Arsenal for one or two seasons?
It is not inconceivable but looking for a similar type would probably make more sense. Having an attacker who can play with their back to the goal suits Arsenal’s passing game, and it looks like Arteta is very keen on it. We surely need to do something up-front as the goals have dried up this season, and although we are playing much better football under Arteta, it is vital that we start to turn draws into wins by getting our goal per game average back to the 1.9/2 mark.
So, it may not be a stupid move at all to re-sign Ollie for 18 months and I am sure he would jump at the opportunity.