Further proof of the fact that Olivier Giroud is a perpetually underrated player? That the ranking of the Champions 2020/21 scorers does not weigh what it usually weighs in the collective imagination: more than Olivier in fact (6 goals in 8 appearances) scored only Mbappé (8) and Haaland (10), the two monsters. As for the difference in timing that should amplify the French data, well, it is readily ignored. As if it were normal to score 6 Champions League goals in 254 minutes. But for us Giroud is still the center-forward of the world champion France who remained dry throughout the tournament. It is that of the 4 goals in the Premier League of the last season, it does not matter if this disheartening number depends as usual on the many benches, or rather on the legitimate choices of Lampard first and then Tuchel. The truth is that Milan have taken a great center forward, one of the best in circulation and moreover absolutely functional to Pioli’s game.
THE ESSENCE OF GIROUD IN A GOAL – But does it make sense to start talking about Giroud’s current technical-tactical characteristics starting from a goal scored in April 2014 with the Arsenal shirt? I will do it, regardless of the time that does not stop an hour, that very Petrarchian “never resting time”Of Shakespeare’s sonnet V. Because the essence of the style and beauty of the game in question, Giroud still carries it inside. And that is what characterizes him, much more than the memorable ‘Scorpion kick’ against Crystal Palace. It is a goal scored at West Ham United.
A throw from midfield and headed into the area for Giroud’s head. Olivier who in the beginning attacks the ball with the classic run-up of the jumper, to cross it between two men. Decision made, it would seem. But no, things change while the ball falls from the sky: his marker misjudges the trajectory and suffers the contact of the Frenchman, who at that point takes advantage and selects another technical gesture. There is now minimal space to tame it. And Giroud puts it down with a rare sweetness for a striker of his size (1.93 m).
With his polite southpaw he stops her there. He appeases her, tames her, heedless of the giant Carrol behind her.
The second touch is a shot with a weak foot to cross. Well, when a great air striker does those things here too, it means he’s really complete. Who knows how to ‘cheat’ you in many ways, and that his formidable header is not a necessity, but a choice.
GIROUD TODAY – But given that, of course, the Arsenal center forward of the time (more dynamic and less statuesque and specialized than what we see today) does not arrive at Milan, let me show you anyway a fairly recent stunt, with which Giroud gave Chelsea victory in the eighth first leg against Atletico Madrid this year. To dispel any doubts, Giroud remains a totally unpredictable striker in the penalty area. He is not the cumbersome striker who would like to suggest age and stature. Look at the moment in which he perceives the surge of the ball, following the decomposed kick of Hermoso. He stops the race and realizes: shall we overturn?
Of course we overturn.
A PRECISE AND REFINED SHOOTER – In addition, Giroud is highly underrated as a shooter. Just look at the videos of the training of France to understand it, the shooting sessions. A divine football mechanic, perfect as well as stylish, which impresses with precision and strength. The goal inflicted on Sweden in 2017 is exemplary from this point of view. Control-lift with the left outside and slap on the fly, cut with the same foot, on the far post. An ecumenical parable that should remain in history as the famous punishment of Roberto Carlos.
IN AREA – In the area, as we have already said, Giroud has the shots of the champion. At this point it is appropriate to go back to a post-world France-Holland, but always in 2018. A Nations League match. Marked by Van Dijk, Giroud is grappling with a slightly inaccurate cross from Mendy.
And he corrects him on the net like this, with a wonderful turn in advance that does not break down on contact and steals time from the Dutch central, at that moment considered the strongest defender in the world.
Well, among the 4 goals scored this year in the Premier by Giroud there is one that is practically identical, scored against Wolverhampton. To reiterate a very simple concept: the French in the box is not just a jumper. Giroud knows how to do these paws to Ibra.
Then, it is clear, when the ball reaches him right, Giroud usually hits it with no headache, this is well known. Take, for example, this slightly less recent gore aimed at the defense of Tottenham, between full-back and central on the weak side, always with the jersey of the Blues.
IN THE 4-2-3-1 OF PIOLI – We conclude with a slightly more tactical consideration linked to the Pioli game system, and therefore to the functional inclusion of a player like Giroud in Milan 2021/2022. With 4-2-3-1 Olivier won a world championship with France. Although it should be remembered that on the left, to balance everything was Matuidi, who was not an offensive winger by profession, so it would be more correct to speak of a 4-4-1-1, but these are numbers. What pleases a center forward like Giroud is to have a clever attacking midfielder behind him. A cute little guy who knows how to be found on the banks or read the second balls before the others. In France he had the best in these fundamentals: Griezmann.
So that Giroud just had to raise it there in front of him to create dangerous contexts. The launch of a central or a full-back, like the ones that Milan sometimes does for Ibra. Here it is. Now you just have to complete the picture.