Olivier Giroud Profile
September 30, 1986
||Grenoble, Istres (loan), Tours, Montpellier
Centre forward Olivier Giroud settled into life at Arsenal well in his first season, scoring an impressive 17 goals.
Catching the eye early on with his mobility, technical skill and aerial prowess, any nerves were soon settled when he scored in September’s Capital One Cup win over Coventry City, and he broke his Premier League duck in the win at West Ham United.
The goals flowed from there, two against Fulham and a strike in the thrilling win over Spurs making November particularly fruitful. Further braces followed in the big wins over Newcastle and West Ham, as well as a delightfully taken pair in the FA Cup win at Brighton. He also scored crucial goals in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool and in the 3-1 victory over Norwich City. Left-footed Olivier scored twice in the Champions League too, including the opener in the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.
One of the most talented strikers to have emerged from France in recent years, Olivier joined Arsenal in July 2012 from then-Ligue 1 champions Montpellier, for whom he had top- scored in their ‘double’ win the previous season. Prior to that, he represented Tours – playing alongside Laurent Koscielny – and was named Ligue 2 Player of the Year for 2009/10.
Olivier has become an important member of the France squad. He debuted in November 2011 and played in Euro 2012, but his finest moment came when he grabbed a last-gasp equaliser in a World Cup qualifier in Spain last term.
Olivier Giroud's Arsenal Career
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Olivier continued his excellent scoring run from pre-season. The French forward opened his account against Aston Villa with a neat close-range finish before firing in Arsenal's third away to Fenerbache from the spot. Olivier also set Arsenal on their way in the 3-1 win at Craven Cottage.
"I always want to improve myself and I feel really good on the pitch," he said. "I always want to make the team win so we feel good and we really want to keep going."
Olivier continued his excellent start to the season with the winning goal in the north London derby. The French forward also slotted home the opener from Mesut Ozil's pass in the 3-1 win over Sunderland and hailed the instant impact Ozil had on the team.
"Everything is easier with this player," Olivier told Arsenal.com after the win at the Stadium of Light. "He has a fantastic, lovely first touch so it is very easy to find each other."
Olivier continued his fine early season form with three more strikes in October. The French forward also starred in the victory over Norwich City, providing the assists for Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil's goals.
Olivier scored Arsenal's second goal in their impressive win over Napoli at the start of the month before adding further goals against Borussia Dortmund and Crystal Palace.
"I feel good. I'm used to playing a lot of games and I feel good with my body so touch wood [there are] no injuries," he said after the Dortmund game. "Over the years I've got used to playing a lot of games and I'm OK with my body. I don't want to find an excuse."
Olivier took his goal tally to seven in November with a brace against Southampton. The French striker robbed Artur Boruc of possession to tap home his first before slotting home a penalty to see off the Saints in the second half. The 27-year-old also provided the assist for Aaron Ramsey to head home the winner against Borussia Dortmund at the beginning of the month.
After the Southampton game, Arsene Wenger said: "Olivier [Giroud] is a positive character who is always ready for a battle. He is maybe a little bit different to the rest of the team.
"He gives us so much with his physical presence, with his link play which he has improved tremendously. He has the mental qualities and a positive attitude."
After a frustrating month in front of goal, Olivier ended his mini drought when he headed home the winner against Newcastle to seal a vital three points. The 27-year-old also set up Lukas Podolski’s goal against West Ham.
Speaking after the Newcastle game, Arsene Wenger said: "Every time I think I give him [Giroud] a rest but we have a team that is a bit short, lightweight and more focused on mobility and technical movement. He is the one guy who has that strength and structure for us. That fighting up front is very important for us."
An ankle injury kept Olivier out of the first two games in January but the French forward returned in the win over Aston Villa and scored the second goal with a low finish past Brad Guzan. The 27-year-old came on as a late substitute and scored in the 4-0 over Coventry before flicking home Arsenal's equaliser at Southampton.
Speaking after the Southampton game, Olivier said: "We had some trouble in the first half to play our game, maybe because Southampton closed us down really well.
"After that we wanted to come back as strongly as we could and we did well but it’s a shame we didn’t manage to win the game. The championship is not finished and we have to keep our heads up. It’s not the end of the world."
Olivier ended a difficult month by netting a brace in the win against Sunderland to take his tally for the season to 16. The France striker also provided the assist for Tomas Rosicky's goal in a man-of-the-match performance against the Black Cats and set up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's second against Crystal Palace.
Speaking after the Sunderland game, Arsene Wenger said: "I had no hesitation about his strength of character. Of course you want him to come back into the team and be successful, which he was today because he scored two goals.
"One great one at the end of a great move and the other one was a little bit of a gift from Sunderland. He got an assist as well, so he did well."
Olivier came off the bench to score a brace in the FA Cup quarter-final victory over Everton. The France forward also tucked in Arsenal's second goal against Swansea City to take his goal tally to 19 for the season.
Speaking after the win over Everton, Olivier said: "It's always important to win but we really wanted to carry on in the FA Cup and go to Wembley with our fans.
"We've played big teams at home in the FA Cup and we played a good team against Everton. We played a great game and we scored a lot of goals. It's good for our confidence."
Olivier made his first appearances for the Club. The France international came off the bench against Sunderland before impressing with a battling physical display in the goalless draw at Stoke. “I think you need a little pressure,” he said. “There can be good pressure and there can be inhibitive, bad pressure that prevents you from expressing yourself on the field. I am ambitious but everywhere I go I need a little adjustment time before I am completely integrated."
Olivier played a part in all six of Arsenal's fixtures in September. The French striker scored his first goal against Coventry in the Capital One Cup. After that game he said: “This goal has taken the pressure off me. It’s done, I have my first goal. But it has to be the start of a beautiful adventure."
Olivier featured in every one of Arsenal’s fixtures during October. The striker scored his first Premier League goal against West Ham, before netting just two minutes after coming on as a substitute in the memorable win away at Reading. “I feel relieved now. It was very important for me to score in the Premier League, to keep going and start my adventure here with Arsenal,” the striker said after his goal at the Boleyn Ground.
Olivier excelled during November, playing in every game and scoring four goals. His headed brace against Fulham saw him named man of the match, an honour he also received for his performance against former club Montpellier. “What I like is that he has a good attitude and a good team spirit,” manager Arsene Wenger said. “He is ready to put his body on the line for the team. Once you have that and his qualities, you wouldn’t fix any limit for any player.”
Olivier started once and came on as a substitute three times during December. After missing the trips to Bradford and Wigan through injury and illness respectively, the French striker ended the month on a high, scoring a three-minute brace in the 7-3 win over Newcastle United.
Olivier was Arsenal’s top goalscorer in January, finding the net five times in the final three games of the month. The Frenchman followed up a brace against West Ham United with man of the match performances against Brighton and Hove Albion, where he scored another brace, and Liverpool.
“He has been on fire in recent weeks and he is great to play with,” said Theo Walcott.
Olivier was selected for all of Arsenal’s games during the month. He came on as a substitute against Bayern Munich, and almost brought Arsenal level when he forced Manuel Neuer into a fine save.
Olivier was on target twice in March, scoring Arsenal’s opener in the win against Bayern Munich before drilling home from inside the area to help secure a 4-1 victory over Reading at the Emirates. “There's eight games to play and a lot of points to play for,” he said after the victory against the Royals. “I trust in our qualities. So I really think we can make fourth and maybe even third place if we continue to play like we did today.”
Olivier’s month ended prematurely after he was sent off in the dying stages of the win against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Prior to that, the striker had started against West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Norwich, where he bundled home from close range to give Arsenal the lead late on.
“It's a harsh decision,” Arsene Wenger said after the Club’s unsuccessful appeal against Olivier’s red card. “After the game, I was a little bit less convinced that he didn't deserve the red card but having seen it again, I feel it's completely accidental and a very minor incident. That's why I decided to appeal. I'm sad that it didn't work but we have to cope with it.”
Olivier was suspended for the first two games in May but returned for Arsenal's last match of the campaign, at Newcastle United, where he played the final 13 minutes. Remarking on his first season in England, Olivier said: “For me it’s a good season. I’ve scored 17 times and got 10 assists. I’m happy with that statistic but I think I can improve my game and my relationship with my team-mates. I’m sure that next season will be better. I always want to improve myself so I’m very confident for next year. For the first season, it’s not been so bad."