Thierry Henry has lauded “extraordinary” Olivier Giroud and says he’d have been an excellent foil to him if his compatriot had played at Arsenal during his era.
The Gunners’ all-time record scorer was considered to have criticised his countryman previously, suggesting he is not a good enough player to lead the line for the Emirates club, but Henry has tried to set the record straight.
“I would like to have played with him,” the 1998 World Cup winner told L’Equipe. “As someone who brings others into play, he is extraordinary.
“I never criticised him. I responded to a question: ‘What must Arsenal do to become champions?’
“To that I said that Giroud cannot be the only forward if Arsenal are to win the league. Some weeks before that question I was praising him. But no-one remembers that.
“It’s been the situation for two years. I replied that Arsenal need a stronger spine, few injuries and for Mesut Ozil to lift his level to that he had played the season before. And another attacker other than Giroud, so there are more solutions and options in attack.
“There you go, that’s what I said.”
The forward backed up point up by taking an example from his era, during which he won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with the club.
“I won the title because Kanu, Sylvain Wiltord and Freddy Ljungberg all scored at the end of the season,” he said.
“The goal in Manchester was scored by Wiltord, not me.
“This season, Alexis Sanchez is playing in attack. He’s the spearhead. And Olivier is doing enormous work, he is staying strong in his job.”
Giroud has scored eight times for the Gunners in 17 Premier League outings this season, netting at a rate of one goal every 82 minutes he has played in England’s top flight. Meanwhile, he has laid on a further four for team-mates.
Only Alexis has been more prolific than the Frenchman for Arsene Wenger’s side this term, with the Chilean boasting 15 Premier League goals. However, he has played far more minutes than Giroud and has scored at a slower pace of once every 137 minutes.