Regular readers of this website will know I write pretty regularly, each day in fact, but one thing I am proud I didn't do, is write Olivier Giroud off. (If you can prove otherwise please try to do so).
And I'm glad I didn't, for he is coming good as I suspected he always would. It's always dangerous to write a player off early into their career, for recent history is littered with such examples of players becoming heroes after slow starts.
Both Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry took their time finding the net for Arsenal, and Olivier Giroud was no different. I'm sure if Giroud can go onto have even half the success of either of those two Gunners legends, fans will be more than pleased.
Here is a look at Giroud's stats so far this season:
The Arsenal striker has 7 assists and 7 goals in 19 games so far; which we can break down even further.
Premier League - Appearances 12, Goals, 4, Assists 2.
Champions League - Appearances 5, Goals 1, Assists 4.
Capital One Cup - Appearances 2, Goals 2, Assists 1.
To add to the above to make it more impressive, 7 of the 19 games he started on the bench, making it 7 goals and 7 assists in 12 starts.
He is in fine form too, scoring four in his last four games, providing two assists in there too. Clearly he is proving he is no flop.
There were several who did write him off, including those who did so before he had even kicked a ball for the club.
Here are a few Tweets from Arsenal fan Piers Morgan:
"Podolski & Giroud are NOT adequate replacements for @Persie_official - this is another catastrophe." "Why would
@Persie_Official see the signing of Giroud, who can't even make a weak French team, as 'progress" " Not convinced by Giroud. At all. Got 'The new Chamakh' written all over him. #Arsenal"
But he wasn't the only one; the tabloids were quick to write him off too - with the Star's article "Arsenal flop OIivier pleads for more time." one example.
Whereas this article claimed, prematurely, Giroud was a contender for 'Flop of the Season'.
It's safe to say Giroud has silenced his critics over the past few weeks, with this excellent Guardian article outlining just how Giroud has become 'indispensable to Arsenal's attack'.
Which is exactly right, Giroud has become a key player, and Arsenal are, and here is perhaps a controversial statement, performing better as a whole than they did with van Persie in the team. The attacking unit is more rounded, and goals are flying in from all over the place.
The Frenchman is still learning, at Old Trafford against United he was pretty ineffective, but that's football, players have good and bad games - Even the aforementioned Van Persie had an equally unimpressive performance for United against Norwich last weekend.
Giroud's performances have perhaps been Arsenal's biggest plus along with Jack Wilshere's return over the last month, and we wouldn't be surprised if he were to win the Premier League Player of the Month Award for November. (You heard it here first).
A quick comparison to Wayne Rooney shows that Giroud has scored four more goals this season than the United man. But perhaps the best thing about Giroud is his interplay, quick adaptation to his teammates in providing assists.
Even when struggling for goals initially, he was laying on chances and setting goals up for his teammates, and the future certainly bodes well for club and player. The 'perhaps not' in our headline is tongue in cheek, for it should read definitely not.
In fact we are declaring that from this point forth, the only F word used in conjunction with Giroud's name is Fantastique...
image: © ronnie macdonald