The landscape of the prototypical strikeris changing and Arsenal are following suit. Does that make Olivier Giroud the best of a dying breed?
Arsenal has something unique in Olivier Giroud. While supporters are split down the middle in their support for him, a lot of that comes from his style of play. The Frenchman has zero pace, but all the power. He is the perfect image of a target man. Feed crosses into the box and chances are he will get his head on a few of them.
But this type of striker is being phased out of the footballing landscape. Big, powerful strikers used to be a pretty common theme around the different leagues, but now all the best strikers out there build off of their pace and penetration.
Even among Arsenal’s key rivals, the only teams that have any sort of ‘power striker’ like Giroud are Chelsea with Diego Costa and Untied with Ibrahimovic. Ibra is obviously the king of the power strikers, but he is nearing his end and Costa is being phased out of Chelsea as well.
Aside from them, Giroud stands alone. A lasting representative of his kind. The top strikers throughout the continental leagues are all pacey and sparkly finishers. Only Robert Lewandowski could make a claim as a ‘power’ forward but even he has all the sparkle to go along with, so it’s hard to classify him in the same category as Giroud. Gonzalo Higuain, maybe, but don’t get me started on his ‘qualities’.
Many will be happy to see Giroud and the style that accompanies him dissipate into the quick striker that Lucas, Welbeck, Akpom and Donyell Malen bring, but we have to at least appreciate that Giroud is making significant strides in the most physical league in the world as one of the last remaining pure-power strikers.
That is not easy to do by any means. Each and every match day he is tasked with a wrestling match against the biggest, baddest defenders in the world. His objective: Want the ball in their net more than they want it out of their area.
It’s a perpetually losing battle, especially given the fact that Giroud will almost always be outnumbered two to one. So his secondary objective is to use that power enough to at least occupy the defense. That means that he won’t even get any of the glory if his toils do succeed.
Giroud was asked if he felt threatened by Lucas at all and he rightly responded that he was not threatened in the least. He is aware of the skill set he has and what he brings to this attack and Wenger is too.
There is no reason for him to be worried. Arsenal may be integrating quicker strikers into their system, but with the possession they always figure to garner, Giroud will be as integral as always to their success.