Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud has been handed trap nine as the green flag to start the race for the Premier League top scorer accolade is raised, ready to be waved.
The spearhead of the Gunners’ attack assumes a price of 20/1 to outscore his peers this term, though it’s difficult to envisage a flurry of punters tripping over themselves to snap this offering up.
Premier League Pedigree
The French forward enjoyed his most prolific campaign in Arsenal colours last term, bagging 16 league strikes in 36 outings.
It isn’t a bad return, but it’s not a tally befitting a Golden Boot winner either.
The 21 goals he plundered during Montpellier’s 2011/12 Ligue 1 triumph saw him nail the equivalent award in his homeland, but it appears he lacks the predatory qualities of his shorter-priced counterparts.
More astute subscribers to this column will be aware that fellow Gunner Alexis Sanchez, a man who hasn’t kicked a ball in the English top-flight, is expected to net with more frequency than Giroud this term.
Yaya Sanogo is the only similar style of player, physically speaking at least, competing for the solo central-striking berth, so it would appear that our man will have unbridled access to the first-team.
But Sanchez and Theo Walcott are both capable of prospering through the middle and the arrival of the former will mean the Arsenal frontline is reshuffled with greater frequency this time around.
Don’t expect another 36-start season from the Frenchman.
Few franchises are as masterful as the north Londoners when it comes to conjuring.
Even their holding-midfielders are more adept than most sides’ cleverest craftsman, but Giroud’s role in the team is to contribute to the creating, rather than profiting from it.
No striker in the division rivals the 27-year-old when it comes to link-up play and one-touch lay-offs, which the Gunners’ on-rushing midfielders, namely Aaron Ramsey, have him to thank for the number of goals they get.
Giroud is something of a freak specimen in the sense that he wasn’t holed up in the sick bay for any of Arsenal’s matches last season, given the club’s apparent insistence on signing injury-prone players.
This was actually the fifth successive season in which he made over 30 appearances, so those willing to invest in his sizeable top-scorer odds needn’t fear the fitness factor.