By Josh Powell | Arsenal v Tottenham
The crowded tubes. The price of a restaurant meal. The ridiculous amount of cyclists. Clapham. There are plenty of valid reasons why folk don’t like London, but Olivier Giroud is clearly not one of those people.
In fact he enjoys London so much, it appears he will only score when he’s involved in matches that are played in the capital.
The French striker joined the Gunners for a fee rumoured to be around the £9.6 million mark in June 2012, and every one of his 13 Premier League goals since, has been scored in London. Giroud has found the back of the net at the Emirates 11 times and also bagged goals at Upton Park against West Ham, and down at Craven Cottage when Arsenal beat Fulham last week.
When you take into account all of Giroud’s game time in the top flight for Arsenal, his record is much like the latest Reading Music Festival – marginally better than average but there’s certainly room to improve. At a goal every 191 minutes it’s taking him more than two matches to find the net each time.
Giroud looks a considerably bigger danger to Tottenham this weekend when you isolate his goalscoring prowess in the games he’s played in London since the start of the 2012 season.
Whether it is the dense smog, the over-priced pints or the cockney rhyming slang, there is something about London that turns Olivier Giroud from half-decent centre-forward into a goalscoring machine.
In terms of minutes per goal in the Premier League from the start of the 2012/13 season, ‘London Giroud’ is third only to Robin van Persie and Romelu Lukaku. In the capital Giroud averages a goal every 123 minutes which makes him one of the most deadly threats at Arsene Wenger’s disposal.
That kind of record makes Giroud the 11/2 favourite to open the scoring in this weekend’s match between Arsenal and Spurs. At 6/4 he is also the eighth most likely player to find the onion bag at anytime this week according to Paddy Power’s prices, which, considering there are a load of City players odds-on to score against Hull, is very impressive.
The Gunners will play 24 top flight matches in London this season and if Giroud plays the full 90 minutes if all of them, he’s currently averaging enough goals in the capital to score 18 this season.
Bar Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie, that’s potentially more league goals in a season than any Arsenal player has managed in the last 15 years. Suddenly the 20/1 on him finishing top scorer looks a touch more appealing.
If he keeps on knocking them in at this rate, it’s probably best to come up with a better song…