Arsenal enthralling 4-3 win over Leicester on Friday night in the opening game of the campaign was notable for many things, Arsenal’s lack of defensive solidity, Granit Xhaka producing two assists and Arsenal winning the opening game of the campaign for just the second time in the last eight seasons.
However, for me, the most notable aspect of the game was the fact that French striker Olivier Giroud came off the bench and scored the 85th-minute winner. It was not the first time he has pulled off the trick in recent seasons.
In fact, Giroud has scored seven goals coming off the bench since the start of last season, which is the biggest total of any Premier League player. The closest player to the Frenchman still active in the English top-flight is Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi with four.
His goalscoring exploits from the bench have given the striker the third best goals per minute ratio since 2014/15 in the Premier League, behind only Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane.
Giroud still second choice striker
Giroud is definitely second choice striker for the Gunners behind compatriot Alexandre Lacazette, who enjoyed a dream debut scoring after just two minutes. It is a slightly strange situation, though, as Giroud is first choice striker for the French team and Lacazette is his back-up.
The 30-year-old’s situation seems to have changed with the arrival of Lacazette. However, in reality, it really has not, as for much of last season the striker was back-up to Chilean star Alexis Sanchez. With Sanchez currently sidelined through injury and his Arsenal future reportedly in doubt, Giroud has an even bigger part to play in the Gunners season.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has stuck with Giroud in recent years, despite fans questioning his wisdom. However, it is difficult to argue with the fact that the Frenchman is a useful weapon for Wenger to have in his armoury.
Looks set to stay
I have to say I have had mixed feelings about Giroud during his Arsenal career. However, he does have a knack of scoring goals, even if it is not with prolific regularity.
The French striker is now odds of 1/10 to be an Arsenal player when the summer transfer window shuts at the end of the month. It seems that he is staying in north London.
If he keeps coming off the substitute’s bench and scores winning goals, I doubt many Arsenal fans will be complaining about his presence at their club.
Is Olivier Giroud’s best role now as a super sub?