Arsenal head to Stamford Bridge this Sunday, knowing that a positive result is key if the Gunners have any sort of ambition for the season ahead.
It could also potentially be a special afternoon for French striker, Olivier Giroud, who is one goal away from reaching 100 goals for Arsenal.
Giroud arrived from French outfit, Montpellier back in the summer of 2012, and has gone about his business very professionally at the club, without really getting the recognition that he deserves the majority of the time.
When Giroud arrived in North London, five years ago now, it took a while for the Frenchman to nail down his place in the starting XI, though come the end of the 2013/14 season, Giroud was seen as Arsenal’s first choice striker.
During the midway point of the 2014/15 campaign, Giroud had already hit 50 goals for Arsenal, and still had the status of being first choice striker, even after the arrival of Danny Welbeck that season.
Though following another failed title charge the following year and most recently last season, Arsene Wenger decided to dip in to the transfer market and spend around £45million on fellow French forward, Alexandre Lacazette.
The signing of Lacazette must have been a blow for Giroud, who admitted very recently that he was close to leaving the club over the summer following interest from the likes of Everton and Lyon.
Big game player?
Giroud is quite easily one of Arsenal’s most experienced players at the club, and it is evident for anyone that he is a rather popular figure with the rest of his teammates.
During his five years at the club, several of the 99 goals that Giroud has scored, have been rather significant ones. The most recent one of those coming on the opening day, when the Frenchman came off the bench to grab the winner as the Gunners saw off Leicester City.
A last minute equaliser last season at Old Trafford also comes to mind, as Giroud rescued Arsenal once more from a tricky situation. When in an era where Arsenal’s record against the so called ‘top six’ has been appalling, Giroud’s on the other hand has been rather impressive.
Since the 2014/15 season, Giroud has notched up 10 goals against the called ‘top six’ sides, which is a rather fascinating statistic, bearing in mind the Frenchman most likely didn’t start the majority of those games.
Is Giroud undervalued at Arsenal?
With this season yet to be another one where Giroud will have to settle for a restricted amount of minutes, it does sometimes raise the point whether Arsenal and also the fans at the club, take Giroud for granted?
The criticism in years gone by on the big striker had been slightly unfair from Arsenal fans point of view. He might not be every fan’s cup of tea, but he is a goalscorer, and a very important one.
Giroud’s style of play does tend to slow the Gunners down at times, unlike when the likes of Lacazette or Alexis Sanchez start down the middle. Though, Giroud is a fantastic asset to have for the club, and offers something completely different when he is on the pitch.
If Giroud does reach 100 goals for Arsenal at Chelsea on Sunday, then it will only indicate once more, just how important his presence is to this side.