If ever, someone needed a real-life example of what a resounding slap would be like, Olivier Giroud’s hat-trick against Olympiakos may serve the cause well. It was one of those nights when Giroud tore into his critics, indeed with a top-notch performance that showcased the abilities he does possess. The sad part, however, is that he needed a treble in the Champions League on a night of such huge significance to gain whatever respect he did, and that too – as will be clear in a few days time – on a temporary basis.
It’s astounding how redolent Olivier Giroud’s Arsenal career is, to a famulus, who is probably as good as the magician himself, but never quite gets the credit he deserves. For Giroud, he has way too many such magicians to be overshadowed by, despite performing as well as anyone in his team.
To add to that, the 29-year old has had his haters, most of whom have been Arsenal fans, but more confounding is the fact that why they hate him is still unknown, and even if a reason has ever come up, it has mostly been an inane one. Generally, his critics have all vituperated him for his apparent lack of goals for someone who’s a centre forward, albeit rightly, but without taking into consideration that the Frenchman hasn’t always had that diamond-like world-class mid-field that could create one chance after another.
And he has done enough for someone who cost his club just €12M, a reflection of which are the 71 goals and 28 assists he has in 157 appearances (120 starts) for Arsenal across all competitions. These certainly are the ideal numbers for any centre-forward in the world, more so for someone who lacks pace, plays in the Premier League, keeps hitting goals and yet ends up getting the wrong treatment.
It’s unfortunate that Olivier Giroud plays for a club that has had the luxury of having Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires and Robin Van Persie like top-forwards who could hit 25+ goals a season with ease. It is the very fact that keeps making the fans to expect Giroud match the same standards, which again, is totally wrong, as the players he’s being compared with, played in different eras, and alongside some of the very best, a privilege that Giroud has been able to enjoy only recently.
Olivier Giroud is an excellent player in his own right – lethal in the air, a daunting presence in the box, and an always improving finisher. There’s no need for him to match anyone in any description, for whatever abilities he has, the Arsenal hitman had made the most of them – not any and everyone can do that. May it be his record, may it be his performances, or his work-rate, they are all just very good, so where’s the problem? If Football can’t respect the player Olivier Giroud is, you have to say the sport is in a sad state of affairs.