Olivier Giroud is a man who gets credit from few, yet footballers of his elegant breed have been the recipients of much adulation over the years.
Six-foot-four and shoulders like Dwight Howard, you could be forgiven for mistaking Giroud for a flat-track bully. Yet, though he possesses much of the traits you would associate with an archetypal target man, to put the Frenchman in that bracket would be an injustice.
Giroud was criminally disrespected by the Arsenal faithful during his stint as a Gunner. He showcased all the attributes that made made Highbury fall in love with Nwankwo Kanu, and even scored more goals, yet little praise was forthcoming.
Arsenal fans’ treatment of Giroud, particularly via a certain YouTube channel, was wholly unjustified. He was no Thierry Henry, but a level beyond the Marouane Chamakh’s of this world. Many’s appreciation for the Chambéry-born centre-forward emerged after his departure.
Giroud called time in the Arsenal chapter of his career, joining Chelsea in an attempt to satisfy Antonio Conte’s target-man desires. It didn’t take him long to push Alvaro Morata for his starting spot.
Time has passed and Giroud finds himself behind both Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard in the pecking order. To many strikers, having your opportunities hoovered up by a winger would be frustrating, but Giroud’s professionalism prohibits him from acting up.
He’s not a prima donna. He’s not Alvaro.
Not only does the fact that he is an exemplary professional help maintain dressing room harmony, but it also ensures that you will get maximum application from him when he is granted an opportunity to stretch his legs.
If you require evidence to testify to that, take the five consecutive Europa League games he scored in prior to yesterday evening. Giroud may have fired blanks against Dynamo Kiev last night, but his contributions must not be ignored.
Giroud provided one of the best assists you’ll see all season for Pedro’s opener. Holding the ball with his back to goal, he flicked it through the legs of the defender with his heel, allowing his teammate a simple finish.
His link-up play often goes overlooked, which is understandable. A striker’s first priority ought to be finding the back of the net, but you need not be prolific if you have redeeming qualities, which Giroud certainly does.
Think Peter Crouch, Luca Toni, Niall Quinn, even Didier Drogba to an extent, all had supreme, natural footballing ability which made earned them their admirers. Giroud is no different, and ought to receive his equal cut of the credit.
Maurizio Sarri appears to have plenty of time for Giroud, even if he has little hope of featuring in the Premier League. His continued use of him in the Europa League is a show of faith and admiration of his contributions.
For too long Giroud has gone under-appreciated by the masses. With his contract at Chelsea ticking down towards it’s expiration date, Marina Granovskaia must ensure that she not is not just another who realised what she had once it was too late.