By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Olivier Giroud must be the penalty box ‘killer’ he has been for most of the last month rather than get distracted one in the north London derby, according to Ian Wright.
The Arsenal legend was disappointed with Giroud’s display in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Tottenham after some ‘unplayable’ displays in recent weeks.
The Frenchman is carrying the weight of the Gunners’ attack on his shoulders due to injuries to Theo Walcott and long-term absentee Danny Welbeck, whose recovery has been stalled.
He had scored eight goals in eight matches going into the Spurs showdown but missed a couple of good opportunities as his lacklustre performance echoed that of the team.
“I saw things against Spurs where, if Theo had been playing, the Gunners would have been able to exploit and probably would have won,” observed Wright.
“What I don’t want to see is Olivier behaving as he did at times in the game, when he was getting involved in the wrong kind of battles.
“I want him back to the player who was at times unplayable in the matches against Everton, like he was at Swansea, even at stages in the home win over Bayern Munich.
“When he was duking it out with Theo to see who started, he was more intense, more deadly, generally more dangerous.
“Against Spurs his demeanour had changed. He’d gone back to pushing and shoving with Jan Vertonghen, moaning to the ref.
“He allowed himself to be distracted from his game, rather than be the killer striker he was when scoring seven in seven for club and country.”
Writing in his Sun column, the club’s second-highest ever scorer behind Thierry Henry is convinced Arsenal need all three of their strikers competing for forward spots.
“If Arsenal do see their title hopes go up in smoke again this season, it won’t be down to the fact that Giroud is up front. Any more than it will be down to the fact Theo Walcott or Danny Welbeck are there,” explained Wright. “Don’t forget, both those two have taken their share of flak.
“With Theo it was a case of ‘he’s not a central striker, they can’t win it with him playing down the middle’. With Danny it’s been ‘he’s not prolific enough for a man who plays as a central striker, and never gets the number of goals he should’.
“All of them may well be valid points, but the most crucial of all is this — no one will win the league with just one guy up there.
“But if all three are fit, then, yes, of course Arsenal can do it.”