Olivier Giroud's Goal Scoring Start Will Be Vital for Arsenal's EPL Title Hopes

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2012

It's finally happened. Arsenal's £13 million striker, Olivier Giroud, has netted his first goal for the club in a 6-1 victory against Coventry City in the Capital One Cup. The end of Giroud's barren run can prove vital for Arsenal's chances of landing silverware.

So far this season, Arsenal have been solid, resilient and creative. However, their resourceful, combative streak has only yielded nine points from five league games. The Gunners have looked a prolific striker short of genuine title contenders.

There can be little doubt that a forward with a surer touch in front of goal would have won Arsenal's games against Sunderland, Stoke City and Manchester City. Instead, Arsene Wenger's team settled for a draw in each game, squandering six vital points in the process.

Giroud's misfiring form had been at the heart of the problem. As the central forward in Arsenal's front three, Giroud is required to be the natural fulcrum of the attack.

However, while wide strikers Lukas Podolski and Gervinho have found the net, Giroud has been guilty of a string of embarrassing misses in English Premier League action. It's meant that Wenger has not entirely trusted the ex-Montpellier hitman.

The Gunners boss has instead relied on a "false-9" formation in Arsenal's last two league games, with Gervinho and Podolski interchanging in central areas. This tactic certainly has its merits, particularly against static defenses.

However, an obvious focal point in the middle of the forward line often encourages greater movement from central midfield areas. A lack of movement was evident against Manchester City, without a prime target to aim for and play off and around.

That kind of focus is what Arsenal's attack needs in order to increase the scoring output. Link-up play is Giroud's best quality, evidenced by his assist for Andrei Arshavin against Coventry. However, an increased scoring threat from the Frenchman can also create space for midfielders like Santi Cazorla and Abou Diaby to profit.

It can be similar to the way the team functioned with Emmanuel Adebayor leading the attack in the 2007/08 season. That campaign represents the closest Arsenal have come to winning the EPL, finishing just four points adrift of winners Manchester United.

The dynamic of Adebayor working in unison with attackers like Tomas Rosicky, Cesc Fabregas and Aleksandr Hleb can be recreated via improved form from Giroud. If anything, Arsenal's present-day squad can be even more prolific.

The current formation is basically a 4-2-4 alignment, with Cazorla, Gervinho and Podolski all able to provide for Giroud and benefit from his intelligent link play. That's why every goal he scores and the confidence it brings is vital for Giroud.

If he can translate his cup success to EPL play, then Arsenal will be legitimate title contenders.