Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Giroud Must Show That He Can Hit the Net like 'MSN' 'I Cannot Go into a Game and Just Play a Zero-Zero. You Cannot Say You Are a Big Club and Just Defend' Arsene Wenger

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Giroud Must Show That He Can Hit the Net like 'MSN' 'I Cannot Go into a Game and Just Play a Zero-Zero. You Cannot Say You Are a Big Club and Just Defend' Arsene Wenger

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

OLIVIER GIROUD was sat next to Arsene Wenger when the Arsenal manager described Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar on the eve of tonight's game as the "most efficient" front three in the world.

Giroud remained motionless, arms folded deep in thought as Wenger continued his praise of Messi. "When you see the other day that Messi scored his 300th La Liga goal in [fewer than] 340 games I've seen many strikers but I've never seen a record like that," he said. "Of course they are top, top class."

Wenger has previously discussed how close Arsenal came to signing Messi as a 15-year-old and following Saturday's goalless draw against Hull, he ruminated on another more recent failed pursuit, this time of Luis Suarez from Liverpool in 2013.

The arrival of both at Emirates Stadium tonight in tandem with Neymar as Barca's 'MSN' provides Giroud with the opportunity to give an answer more conclusive than anything he could say at London Colney yesterday.

Wenger spent almost an entire transfer window two-and-a-half years ago searching for a top-class striker to supersede Giroud. The Gunners boss was always mindful of talking up his fellow Frenchman but the implication was clear: to take Arsenal to the next level, an elite striker was required.

The much-publicised PS40millionplus-PS1 bid for Suarez came during a period in which Arsenal expressed an interest in signing Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema and Wayne Rooney.

Each move was audacious and all ultimately proved too complex to complete. Giroud was instead given the chance to develop as he sought to defy critics steadfast in their belief that he was an excellent striker but not a clinical matchwinner comparable with the finest around.

Giroud has enjoyed his finest season to date. Where Thierry Henry once argued Arsenal could not win the title with Giroud leading their attack, last month he declared the 29-year-old sufficiently consistent to do just that. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.