Arsenal 2 Middlesbrough 0 comment: Relentless Olivier Giroud puts Boro to the sword

French striker was unplayable against the Championship high-flyers

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The Independent Football

Put this one on DVD, include a separate highlights reel focusing on Olivier Giroud and send it to all the football academies in the country. Yes, this was a Middlesbrough side who did little to reflect their tremendous performance in the Championship this season, but Arsenal’s attack channelled through Giroud was relentless.

Arsenal's no. 12 has faced unrelenting criticism since he joined the Gunners in the summer of 2012. Some continue to say that he is too casual in his approach to football but he has a habit of scoring crucial goals. The winner at Manchester City a month ago helped to spark a resurgence from the Gunners which only ended when they were handsomely beaten by Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

His two goals against Aitor Karanka’s side were typical of a player with his mould and who has an abundance of talent behind him.

Santi Cazorla brought the ball under control, glanced to his left and played it to Kieran Gibbs slotted across the six-yard area for Giroud to sweep past Tomas Mejias.


The second goal wasn’t as delicately crafted as the first but it was just as clinical. Cazorla whipped a corner in from the left and the Frenchman got well in front of his marker Kike at the near post before volleying exquisitely into the Boro goal.

He may not possess as many silky skills as Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez but he is one of the only players Arsenal have who can bully defenders. Ryan Fredericks and Kenneth Omeruo both found that out as they struggled to cope with his strength and the high tempo at which the Gunners played to.

Giroud makes it 2-0 with classy strike

In fact the Frenchman surprised himself and brought a few laughs from the Arsenal faithful when he managed to force George Friend and Ben Gibson to ground when going up for a header.

The thing is though, and to answer his critics, Giroud doesn’t need to work necessarily hard.

High work rate is not what Wenger demands of him - goals are more important and that is how all strikers should be judged.

In a season where he missed nearly all of the first quarter due to injury he has still been able to score ten goals in 19 games. That is an impressive tally when you consider that Arsenal’s goal tend to come from further behind him: Sanchez has 18, Cazorla seven and Ramsey six.

There is no question that he is at his most prolific when playing at the Emirates - six of his ten goals have come at home -  and he is appreciated there too. When he was replaced by Chuba Akpom with minutes remaining and the game all but over for Mike Dean’s whistle, he was applauded off the pitch. Casual he may be, but unappreciated he is certainly not. Just watch this performance closely and it will become clear why many coaches talk about Giroud as the modern example of a centre forward and who youngsters should emulate. Someday it might even be on DVD.