Thursday 14 December 2017

Olivier Giroud focus

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud struggled to make an impact at Anfield
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud struggled to make an impact at Anfield

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud made a surprise return to the first XI in the Premier League clash at Liverpool.

Here, Press Association Sport tracks how the France international fared at Anfield.

GOAL THREAT

Came close to getting Arsenal on the score sheet three minutes into the second half, rising well and getting away a full-blooded header that almost beat Simon Mignolet's grasp only to be tipped on to the crossbar. That was as good as it got as Arsenal's delivery left a lot to be desired and his own creative powers burned low.

WORK RATE

Hard to judge his willingness to go the extra mile when he was isolated in front of a non-functioning midfield for so long. That being said his conditioning did look to be below par after a stretch out of the starting XI and he was breathing hard on several occasions in the first half. Unsurprising to see him substituted.

PHYSICALITY

Arsene Wenger must have had visions of Giroud asserting himself on the laconic Joel Matip or fellow defender Ragnar Klavan, but Giroud is not a bullying centre forward by nature. He can be a strong presence, but rarely throws his weight around to the maximum and failed to ruffle feathers at the heart of a back line that has often proved fragile. ATTITUDE

Once it became apparent he was not succeeding as a battering ram he willingly moved around on a couple of occasions. Briefly ran the channels to allow Danny Welbeck a spell through the centre and deferred to Alexis Sanchez after half-time.

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