Tag Archives: Olivier Giroud

Man at the match, Chary: The Ox and Giroud set up Wembley date

A twice taken Arteta penalty proved to be the turning point, after Everton’s on loan Chelsea player Lukaku equalised an early Özzy strike, after which Giroud’s brace set the Arsenal on the way to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final.

Spring appeared to have finally sprung in London as the locals greeted the blue skies and lack of rain with surprise and relief. Southern England had become a saturated sponge over the course of the mild yet wet winter, but today the green shoots of recovery in the weather were mirrored by encouraging signs from the team who had disappointingly lost last weekend to the Orcs of Middle Earth.

A detour around the environs of London N5 preceding meeting up with this blogs gaffer, Tim, pre match was a pleasure and we while we both feared Everton’s undoubted quality we hoped his “good luck charm” effect continued to work this year, as it had on his previous annual pilgrimages to watch The Arsenal.

Wenger kept to his policy of using Flappy as his Cup keeper but surprisingly started Sanogo and less surprisingly had to use Vermaelen to stand in for the unfit Kozzer.

As expected Özzy returned to the starting line-up and it was his cool finish, after being set up by Santi’s surging run and pass through the middle of the park after around ten minutes that gave the home side the early lead.

Replays on the big screen showed what the goal meant to Özzy as unusually I was in the North Bank lower this time (and not the clock End) and as the goal was scored at the Clock End and I had a rather distant view of it.

Distant shot after Ozzy goal

Normally the away side would go into their shell after conceding early yet the Toffees seemed to have an extra energy and bite about their mid field that only increased and made it look like they had an extra man in midfield. It also seemed that whenever the ball bounced in midfield it went to a player in blue. In the first half the energy and running they showed hadn’t been matched by any other team that I’d seen at Ashburton Grove this season.

Everton appeared to target our left flank as they viewed Gibbs/Santi/Özzy’s side of the pitch as being more vulnerable. One of these runs led to Özil having to track back the player and make a clearance virtually level with our goal line.

Surely this can’t be what we bought him for?

It was a run, around the half hour mark, into this flank from Barkley that led to a possibly offside Mirallas turning a ball across the face of the Arsenal goal that Lukaku chipped/tapped into the net.

His subsequent diversion of his goal celebration run from in front of the goal to behind it to goad the Arsenal fans with his ear cupping gesture tells you all you need to know about a player schooled in the Chelsea way by the grand master of lizards, the specious eye gouger himself, José Mário Mourinho.

A blue smoke bomb went off soon after the equaliser, courtesy of the loveable Scouse scallies.
Understandably the home crowd quietened to absorb the disappointment but, and as I’ve noticed this season, the resilience of the on pitch performance enhances that of the crowds support. Quite soon the home support got behind the team and some more Santi and Ox drives and numerous corners meant the half time whistle was followed by encouraging applause.

At half time pat Rice made a pitch side appearance with the warmth of his reception showing how the club and its supporters honour the valued servants of the club. A certain Van Judas, complete with the whinging little boy inside, take note.

Credit where it’s due as some of the Everton supporters joined in the applause as Pat walked off the pitch.
By the time the second half started those of us in the North Bank lower had been directly in the sun for over an hour and were feeling a little lethargic however a bright start by Arsenal shook us out of our half time slothfulness.

While it looked like individually none of our midfield were having a bad game, and The Ox was irrepressible, it appeared the whole was less than the sum of the parts; based on who we had out there the home side should have had a better grip on the match and the midfield in particular.

Santi corner

Santi corner

Santi’s scampering running style is noticeable anywhere on the pitch, which is saying something for someone with as poor eyesight as me, and his hard work all over the pitch doesn’t go unnoticed, it’s no wonder he’s a fan favourite.

To my (not very good)eyes The Ox running directly at the lumbering Everton centre back pairing was always going to cause alarm for the away team especially when they were being shielded by the lumpen Gareth Barry.

Sure enough an Ox run at Barry saw him swipe out the Arsenal forward yards in front of me and as he slid onto his knees after being upended the ref, Clattenburg, pointed to the spot.

Being 3 rows from the front my views of the penalties were obscured, I could tell the first had been converted but then I saw Clattenburg make square shaped hand gestures and the scoreboard take the score back from 2-1 to 1-1 and then bizarrely Giroud (who had come on for the hard working but “unpolished” Sanogo) was shown a yellow card; as ever Clattenburg wanted to be the centre of the show.

The tension in the North Bank lower grew as Arteta settled down to retake the penalty; relief as Mikel held his nerve a second time to put Arsenal deservedly into the lead.

Yes, we ARE 2-1 up now!

Yes, we ARE 2-1 up now!

The introduction of Rosický for the tiring Ox seemed to add extra urgency to Arsenal’s forward play and added to Everton becoming more open as they chased the game, more chances for Arsenal wrre created.

My experience of the North bank lower was the support was generally more raucous, having said that I had two middle aged, white haired bearded gents to my right who spent most of the match gently sipping tea and murmuring the odd comment to each other. Strangely they also left early so they missed the Giroud brace that put paid to all the nonsense being written about his off field problems affecting his on field performance.

He scores/s**gs when he wants

He scores/s**gs when he wants

It annoys me that the British press see it fit to take a voyeuristic interest in Giroud’s private life, you wonder if the hacks are some kind of peeping Tom voyeurs.

His connections with crosses from Sagna and Özzy gave the score line a satiating and confidence boosting look and led to my crowd highlight of the match.
Quotes:

Que se-raa, se-ra, whatever will be, will be.

We’re going to Wember-ley, que ser-aa sera.

The gusto and volume with which the North Bank lower sang that gave me a spine tingling moment and was a satisfying response to the “We shall not, we shall not be moved” chants we heard from the blue corner after their first half equaliser.

Loyal Everton fans ALL staying to the end

Loyal Everton fans ALL staying to the end

At the final whistle you could see how much it meant to the players to be just two wins away from a trophy, this was a symptom of the urgency with which the players urged each other on and kept each other at the top of their game during the match.

We've got a BFG

We’ve got a BFG

As Per walked in front of us, showing a right handed fist pump as HIS song was sung, the crowd sensed perhaps this could be our year.

In any case what better way to prepare for a trip to, arguably, the best club side in the world on Tuesday?

UTA !

By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)

OPEN WIDE

Inside Giroud’s Brain: “maybe I’m as good as Wayne Rooney?”

Whelp… that was a good result this weekend. See you next weekend!

No but seriously, it was pretty clear that Sunderland had one eye on the League Cup Final and came out looking quite complacent. Arsenal were professional about it and put them to the sword. Sunderland got a talking to at half, Arsenal lost a couple key players, Sagna moved to center half, they scored a goal, and Arsenal won 4-1.

Feeling satisfied with my club, I then went on to spend a lovely weekend doing other things with my life. And by other things, I mean, not reading any of the papers.

I keep banging this drum and I’m going to keep banging this drum: the games are much more enjoyable when you’re not reading about how Arsenal are getting into a crisis, overcoming a crisis, having a crisis of confidence, banging Crisis, not banging Crisis, or crossing the crisis Rubicon.

Though it is inescapable and my favorite right now is everyone guessing what’s going on in Giroud’s head:

Giroud

Thanks to ESPN in the year 2000 for this idea. I think it needs to be brought back, don’t you?

#6 is courtesy of my five year old daughter, only she and Giroud knows what that means, and it is probably closest to what Giroud is actually thinking.

Did Giroud cheat on his wife? Is this going to affect his performances on the pitch? How is the team dealing with this? Should we even care? Is it really only bothering you because he chose HER and not you?

I had a little exchange on this topic over on twitter. Many folks worried how the allegations of cheating might effect Giroud, rightly pointing out that family strife is often the cause of a drop in productivity at work. My retort was “sure, in normal people, but these guys are not normal.”

And sure enough, Wenger drops him — for violating team rules — and when Giroud comes back, he scores 2 and gets an assist. Granted, the three goal haul was against a team with one eye on next week’s match but it can only do him good. Scoring goals is what he’s supposed to do with his brace on Saturday, Giroud got off a several match slide.

In fact, Giroud’s numbers are starting to look pretty good for this season after Saturday. He’s at least in some ways comparable to Wayne Rooney, numerically. And I know that many of you are now about to have a tantrum, I’m not saying he’s as good as Wayner: he’s better!

Better than rooney.Let me be clear: this is just for fun, I am not saying Giroud is a better forward than Rooney. I am comparing the two players here for two reasons.

First, because Wayne Rooney just got a £300k/wk contract and while I think he’s a talented player, there is no way that he’s worth the same as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo even with the British Passport VAT. Rooney is a season on, season off kind of player and has been for four years — usually coinciding with a pay increase. Just look at the comparison between Rooney last year and Giroud last year: he turned the ball over less and assisted more, which is exactly to be expected from a guy playing second striker.

And second, I compared them because I think Giroud is underrated by Arsenal supporters and I knew that comparing him to Rooney, especially since some stats are favorable, would make people apoplectic. Meh, I guess I’m just as bad as the “press”. Never said I wasn’t.

The fact is that Giroud is having a decent season for Arsenal and I expect that his overall numbers will rise over last season, even if his per90 numbers take a hit. Arsenal have (at least) 13 more matches left in the season and if Giroud keeps plugging along like he is, he could, just maybe, end the season with 20 goals and 10 assists for Arsenal.

Depending on where his head is.

Both heads,

Qq

 

giroudl

How Olivier Giroud scores 20 goals for Arsenal this season

Simple, he needs about 50 more shots. Well, 58, give or take.

Let me back up for a minute.

When Giroud came to Arsenal he had just scored 21 goals for Montpellier as they surprised everyone and won Ligue Un. But the first thing I noticed about his goals record wasn’t the goals scored, it was the 160 shots he’d taken to get 21 goals. That works out to about 7.6 shots per goal. To put some perspective on that number, last season Robin van Persie had 30 league goals on 174 shots or 5.8 shots per goal.

Giroud has been consistently a 7+ shots per goals striker. In the season before Montpellier barnstormed the league, he scored 12 goals on 89 shots, that’s 7.4 shots per goal. And of course this season, Giroud already has 13 goals for Arsenal off 94 shots. Which is an average of…7.23 shots per goal. So, doing the kind of statistical prediction that everyone hates, I worked out that if Giroud gets 50 more shots (give or take) he will end up with 20 goals for Arsenal this season.

Despite letting fly at every chance, Giroud doesn’t lead Arsenal in shots per game, that honor goes to Santi Cazorla with 3 shots on average every outing. For a guy who has 92 shots already in all competitions, Cazorla’s conversion rate is pretty bad, taking 11.5 shots per goal, getting only 37% of his shots on target, and then only converting 24% of his shots on goal into goals. This is actually a bit of a dip in form for Cazorla, who averaged 9.9 shots per goal last season getting 9 goals on 89 shots.

We know from watching the games that Cazorla tends to shoot from outside and it’s one of those features of his game that divides opinion. Most people like that he shoots so much from outside. I prefer it if he worked inside a little more. His hat-trick against Reading was comprised of runs into the area rather than speculative shots from outside. There is nothing wrong with having a crack at goal from distance every once in a while but you have to mix it up and right now he’s serving up far too many long shots which don’t bother the keeper.

The big surprise from the arsenal squad has been the emergence of Theo Walcott as Arsenal’s most efficient goal scorer. Last season, Walcott scored just 8 League goals on 76 shots. That’s an average of 9.5 shots per goal.  This season he has exploded and has 17 goals on 3.88 shots per goal (66 total shots). That’s such a stunning change of form that for him to go back to his 9.5 shots per goal average, he would have to miss his next 95 shots.

Theo is also super efficient at getting shots on target, 55% of his shots work the keeper. Suarez only manages 37% of his shots on goal and van Persie 44%. And Theo scores about 47% of the shots he gets on target. This is an important ratio because players like Gervinho convert 71% of their shots on goal, but only get 25% of their total shots on target. If you can get a player who is a 50-50 man like Walcott, it means that about 1 in every 4 shots is resulting in a goal and that is what top, top, top, super double-plus good players score.

SIGNDATING!*

In the end, I feel fairly confident that Giroud will finish the season with 20 goals to his name. There are 15 League games left, there are two Champions League games (at least!) and one more FA Cup match (at least!). That’s 18 games. And if Giroud can keep his form, his health, keep getting shots, and keep converting at the same rate, he will end the season with around 54 more shots. Just enough to get 20 goals.

Qq

*Yeah, I know. He already did.