Any Arsenal fan that believes it’s only a matter of time before striker Olivier Giroud returns to Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up may want to think again.
Based on last season’s form, it is understandable that any Gooner would believe it can only be a matter of time before the Arsenal boss reinstates the France international as the club’s frontman.
However, Alexis Sanchez has moved into the central position up front that Giroud had previously occupied, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott assuming the Chilean’s natural wide position.
Giroud has been setback by injury this season and Sanchez has more than proved his capability to lead Arsenal’s attack. And with that, the Frenchman has been confined to just 11 appearances in all competitions for the north Londoners.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for last season’s 24-goal striker, as per the Mirror, with Giroud proving to be the most effective substitute in the Premier League.
No player has come on and contributed to more goals than the Frenchman this season, with the 30-year-old scoring three goals and producing one assist to be actively involved in four goals after coming on from the bench.
That’s more than Manchester City’s Nolito (3), Arsenal teammates Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (2) and Santi Cazorla (2), amongst a host of other names.
Olivier Giroud: 3 goals, 1 assist
Nolito: 3 goals, 0 assists
Connor Wickham: 2 goals, 0 assists
Fernando Llorente: 2 goals, 0 assists
James Ward-Prowse: 1 goal, 1 assist
Robert Snodgrass: 1 goal, 1 assist
Kelechi Iheanacho: 1 goal, 1 assist
Shaun Maloney: 1 goal, 1 assist
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 1 goal, 1 assist
Joshua King: 1 goal, 1 assist
Michy Batshuayi: 1 goal, 1 assist
Santi Cazorla: 0 goals, 2 assists
Giroud came on with little more than 20 minutes remaining to score twice in five minutes and sink relegation-threatened Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last month, in a 4-1 win.
And the Arsenal striker came on against Manchester United to deal the Red Devils a late blow with an 89th-minute strike in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford recently.
But Giroud has scored just twice when he has started this season, with both of his goals coming in Champions League ties against Ludogorets and Paris Saint-Germain.
However, while it is nice for the France striker to know that he has not lost his way completely, the statistics will not be enough to sell Wenger the idea of returning him to his starting XI anytime soon. In fact, quite the opposite.
Giroud is no longer a spring chicken, but fellow striker Lucas Perez has struggled to find the form that earned him a move to the Emirates from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer.
The Spaniard has not featured for the Gunners since picking up an ankle injury against Reading in the EFL Cup last month, with Arsene Wenger set to start him, upon his return from injury, in the same competition against Southampton tomorrow night.
Perez’s two goals for the club came earlier in the competition, in a comfortable 4-0 away win at Nottingham Forest. But with Perez putting no pressure on Giroud yet, the Frenchman’s long-term future in Wenger’s side is far from under any threat.
Giroud may not enjoy warming the bench at the Emirates, but the current stats suggest that, when given the chance to start by Wenger, he will be able to re-find his goalscoring form of last campaign, which also helped France to the final of the European Championships.