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Fans boo misfiring Giroud



olivier giroud

When France coach Didier Deschamps called time on Olivier Giroud’s disappointing performance against Albania, the frustrated Stade Velodrome booed him off the field while, in stark contrast, the former Marseille player Andre-Pierre Gignac replaced him to a chorus of cheers.

It was not the first time that the Arsenal striker had been jeered by the French public, having also been booed in a Euro 2016 warm-up match against Cameroon, yet he has more pressing concerns than the negative public perception of his play.

If Giroud keeps up his poor level of performance in the one area where he excels – heading crosses – then his place in the team will be under threat.

As Deschamps demonstrated on Wednesday night by relegating Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann to the bench, he is not afraid to sit out big name players – especially at this stage of the tournament where the risks from experimenting with other formations and personnel are small.

The 29-year-old could be dropped for Sunday’s encounter with Switzerland.It’s understandable that Giroud is struggling to live up to the high standards set by Karim Benzema – who was left out by the ruthless Deschamps in order to maintain the ‘harmony’ of the team – but the problem is that he isn’t even living up to his own average standards.

If there is one thing that the Arsenal man has nailed down, it is winning aerial battles and posing a threat with his head, but he has not been able to do that so far in the tournament.

Against Albania, he directed five headers towards goal, but all five of them were hit off target – even if one of them did hit the post.It was a similar story in the Romania game where he converted one header for the opening goal, with the help of some very suspect goalkeeping, but hit another two off target.

If he cannot start directing more than 12.5 percent of his headers on target, then he’ll leave his coach with no choice but to make a permanent switch to Gignac or play a ‘false nine’.

Giroud is not the kind of player who can make defence-splitting diagonal runs or anticipate and latch onto a through-ball, which makes him an odd fit at the tip of this free-flowing and pass-happy France side, but the fact he can dominate defenders in the air usually makes him worth keeping on the pitch.

On Wednesday night, however, this one skill that had been earning the Frenchman his keep was not on show. With a passing accuracy of just 54 percent at this tournament – the fifth worst of all forwards who have played at least five passes – the French coach was hardly going to keep Giroud on the field for his ability to play the ball on the ground.

Quite simply, Giroud is with Les Bleus to perform one job: to get on the end of crosses and score goals. If he can’t do that, he won’t even be on the pitch long enough for fans to boo him again

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