Olivier Giroud: Victim of his own good looks

The Olivier Giroud cycle:

  1. Arsenal fans complain about Giroud and say that their team needs to buy a proper top striker.
  2. Someone on Twitter (eg @messiseconds) puts some stats up to show that Giroud’s goal-scoring is actually in line with a lot of the top strikers in Europe.

The Olivier Giroud cycle [2016 limited edition]:

  1. As normal.
  2. As normal.
  3. French fans boo Giroud and say that their team needs a proper top striker.
  4. Someone on Twitter (eg @LeutrimRexhaj) puts some stats up to show that Giroud’s goal-scoring is actually in line with a lot of the top strikers who’ve recently played for the French national team.
  5. Twitter asks why the French are being so unreasonable about Giroud.

 

Olivier “I can’t change that I’m gorgeous” Giroud is a good goalscorer (and also sets up goals too), and that much is definitive fact.

He isn’t *quite* what you would think of as ‘world class’, in terms of goalscoring – there’s always going to be a bunch of people ahead of him who you’d rather pick. Arsenal fans seem to want a world class striker, and the problem they want a 9/10 player but Giroud is about an 8/10 and that small difference in quality is likely to cost the club more than it is realistically worth. But that’s a whole different topic.

Olivier Giroud looks like a star.

Part of why he looks like a star, and part of why people do him down, is his own doing, and that’s the positions that he gets in. He’s one of those strikers who regularly seems to get good chances and every now and then will miss a really good one. That said, Paul Riley’s public xG model has Giroud’s expected goals based on his shots on target (excluding penalties or direct free-kicks) at 15.63. From these chances, Giroud scored 15. Basically dead on.

But so much of how we percieve players is through how they look. And Olivier Giroud looks like a star. He’s tall, he’s athletic, he has a good face and good hair, he’s French. In Moneyball, when persuading his scouts to consider baseball players that everyone else is ignoring, Billy Beane says “we’re not selling jeans here”, the meaning behind it being that the market overrates guys who ‘sell jeans’. Olivier Giroud could sell jeans. Probably does, somewhere in the world.

Giroud, it seems, is seen as someone who should score 25-30 league goals a year. He clearly has talent. But he has talent and the body, face, and hair to plaster around the stadium. He looks like he has the physical tools needed to succeed: speed, height, touch. He looks like a 9/10. But he’s really an 8/10.

And that’s why everyone is disappointed. It must be hard being good looking.

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