Arsenal did not play to Olivier Giroud’s strengths when the Frenchman was playing for the Gunners, according to Arsenal WFC icon and BBC pundit Karen Carney.
Giroud was at the Emirates Stadium between 2012 and 2018, clocking up 253 competitive appearances for Arsenal, with 105 goals and 41 assists under his belt.
The 34-year-old struggled for starts towards the end of his time at Arsenal and, on the final day of the transfer window in January 2018, he moved to Chelsea for a reported £18million.
Giroud on the same day that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined the Gunners and, while the Gabon international has done well, he’s currently in the midst of a scoring drought.
Admittedly, Arsenal’s midfielders aren’t exactly providing much ammunition at present, with most of it coming in the form of crosses.
Giroud, meanwhile, has seven goals from 12 appearances this season, despite most of his game time coming off the bench.
Carney described the Blues man as a “dream for a manager” before going on to suggest he was effectively wasted at Arsenal.
“At Arsenal he didn’t score at the same rate because they didn’t cross the ball as much,” she wrote on BBC Sport.
“They always played to feet. Did Arsenal play to his strengths? Probably not. I always felt he was better than what we saw at Arsenal.
“Arsenal played one particular way and didn’t really change. Chelsea have so many players who can mix things up. They can put balls into the box, dominate you from set-pieces, play at dynamite speed or just break up the game.
“When you have Giroud in your armoury, you know what his strengths are and you can adapt your game to suit him. Chelsea have the players to do that. I don’t think that was the case with Arsenal.”
It’s somewhat ironic that Arsenal didn’t play to Giroud’s strengths while he was at the Emirates Stadium but, now he’s gone, the Gunners are playing in a manner that would befit his style but is proving ineffective with their current forwards.
Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are great players but aerial play isn’t one of their main strengths, and as we’ve seen in recent weeks, sending crosses their way simply doesn’t work well enough – though it would were Giroud still in red.