Olivier Giroud Excelling Early With AC Milan

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud has been exemplary with AC Milan thus far. It may just be pre-season, but the French gunman is firing on all cylinders. More than that, his chemistry with the Rossoneri’s top players is already quite evident. He was brought in to be a veteran back-up off the bench for a low fee, which was always going to be a great deal, but Giroud may prove to be even more than that as the season begins.

Olivier Giroud Excelling With AC Milan

Performances So Far

Giroud has been a part of four Milan pre-season games so far. His first started with a bang. He was back in his home country in France, playing in the Allianz Riviera against Nice. Giroud came on with Milan being down a goal but immediately scored with a trademark header off a set-piece. Milan have long struggled with set-piece opportunities and Giroud is an immediate answer.

The next two matches, against Valencia and Real Madrid, were quiet for Milan offensively as a whole. With that being said, Giroud found himself creating opportunities in his limited time on the pitch. The constant substitutions didn’t help the flow of the game, but that is a regular preseason occurrence.

The next match, against Panathinaikos, is where Giroud clearly stood out. He scored a rather quick brace. Fikayo Tomori, a growing star in Milan’s defence, served a brilliant long ball that was finished exquisitely by Giroud on the volley. Shortly after, Davide Calabria whipped in a great cross into the box which was neatly put away by a Giroud header after taking a bounce.

Giroud continues to do what he does best – serve as a target inside the box. Milan’s playmaking has been solid throughout manager Stefano Pioli’s tenure, and they now have another proven finisher. Clearly, this is shaping up to be a great fit between player and club.

What the Future Holds

In the long run, it’s likely Giroud serves as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s back-up. That isn’t an issue, as the Frenchman knew this ahead of time and he’s played in a similar role over the last couple of seasons.

With that being said, Ibrahimovic’s health and fitness was a concern all of last season. He also finished last season with an injury that caused him to miss Euro 2020. He’s yet to be cleared as fully fit, so there’s a chance Giroud will begin the Serie A season as Milan’s starter.

If this is the case, Giroud has a chance to keep his hot streak going and have Milan start out the season with a couple of wins under their belt. The┬áRossoneri’s first two games of the season come against Sampdoria and Cagliari. These will be two very winnable games, with defences that can be exposed by Giroud’s positioning and clinical finishing.

The next two matches come against Lazio and Juventus. These, of course, will be much tougher. If Giroud does in fact start the season strong, and Ibrahimovic is struggling with fitness, the Frenchman may have a legitimate shot as becoming Milan’s game-winner.

 

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