Pitchside Europe

Time for Giroud to get his groove back against Bayern

Our friends at Squawka look at what the underperforming Olivier Giroud needs to do in Wednesday night's Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich.

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Arsenal star Olivier Giroud has his obvious qualities but sometimes lacks sharpness, energy and crucially the ability to finish.

He has struggled for goals recently - scoring just once in five Premier League appearances - and has also looked laboured and lethargic up front.

At the weekend, Yaya Sanogo produced a more energetic performance against Liverpool, something which may worry Arsenal's No. 12.

But with Bayern posing a stern challenge on Wednesday, Giroud will have to up his effort and be more clinical if Arsenal are to advance past the current European champions.

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With the first leg being at the Emirates, Arsenal need a positive result to stay in the tie. And for that to be the case, Giroud needs to make the difference in a big game like this, something he has struggled to do since his £12 million move from Montpellier.

The Gunners are unlikely to control the game, so when Giroud does get the ball, he needs to hold it up and keep it, allowing others to join him further up the field.

However, in recent games against Liverpool and Manchester United - fixtures which many would classify as big games - the Frenchman completed just 57% of his passes (Man Utd performance seen below).

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Furthermore, perhaps more worrying for Gunners fans is the fact Giroud has a 17% shot accuracy from those games against Liverpool and Manchester United.

The French striker has also had the second highest amount of shots in the Premier League (78), but has only converted 16.4% of these into goals.

He has netted twice in six Champions League encounters, and with the Arsenal midfield likely to be busy with defensive duties, Giroud must take the initiative upfront and try to create something from nothing against Bayern.

When Mesut Ozil is on the ball, Giroud needs to make forward runs for the German to pick out. Ozil spotting these forward runs has been the source of a large portion of Arsenal's goals this season. He opens up the game and exploits space, but this creative genius can be nullified when nobody is making those runs for the Gunners.

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With defensive and more central wingers likely to be selected for this fixture to help fight the possession battle, the burden on Giroud will be greater than ever.

Tonight provides the perfect platform for Giroud to silence his critics and prove he has the quality to lead the line for Arsenal in the biggest of games. His form in the last five Premier League games has been questionable and his sloppy passing and woeful shooting has left Arsenal light in attack.

The Frenchman needs to up his game tonight, as this is a match where Arsenal need all their big players to stand up and be counted.

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