The Independent London Newspaper


SCORE BLIMEY: Olivier ‘Scorpion’ Giroud is not such a deadly striker

Published: 6 January, 2017

YOU may think the scorpion kick goal against Crystal Palace was the best thing that could have happened to Olivier Giroud. 

It’s actually the worst. Now he’s like a kid who has won pass the parcel at a nursery party and thinks it was all down to some level of skill and personal brilliance, and not because a parent stopped the music on his go because they were worried he might otherwise bawl his eyes out for being rubbish at everything. Two days later Giroud was still banging on about it like he was a gift to football, using up time when Arsenal might have been chasing a winner against Bournemouth to dance his scorpion dance, back leg cocked, while his team-mates were back waiting at the halfway line. 

Even in his long-awaited moment of glory, it has to be said Giroud looked rather ridiculous. And the most worrying thing about the reaction? 

It had a touch of the Jason Cundys about it. He was the Spurs defender who scored a fluke halfway line goal against Ipswich back in the 1990s and then protested afterwards that he could do it again, only to – naturally, for he was Jason Cundy – never to do it again. Surely Giroud doesn’t want to be a Cundy? 

Nobody wants to be a Cundy. 

If he really wants the scorpion to be his trademark, he’ll have to do it at least two more times to prove it wasn’t a fluke, which regardless of how many times they are prepared to vote for it in a Match Of The Day phone-in, even the most besotted Arsenal fan surely privately fears it was. 

Trouble is, players’ special button trademarks are more often the thing they do most regularly. So when we think of Giroud in a game of word association do we think of scorpion kicks or do we think of what pops up more commonly in his repertoire: headers straight at the keeper, squandered half-chances and anguished near miss smile/grimaces with a double-hand ruffle of the hair. It’s the second one isn’t it.

Giroud isn’t a bad man – most of us would struggle to stay calm if we scored a goal like he did in front of 60,000 people – and he isn’t a bad player either. But what Arsenal really need, what they’ve needed for ages, is someone better than “not bad”. They need a ruthless striker. 

The scorpion goal will now be used as some sort of trumped up truth that the club do not need to buy a new forward in this transfer window. The fact Giroud missed that easy one against Palace will go unnoticed and next time he’ll miss it again at a point when it really, really matters. 

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