Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud hailed as the world’s best “target man”

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud hailed as the world’s best “target man”

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has been hailed as one of best target men in world football by Galatasaray midfielder Younes Belhanda.

Giroud played alongside Belhanda at Montpellier during a two year spell at the French club before signing for Arsenal in 2012.

Defending In Numbers is a new Deezer Originals football podcast, created by Squawka. Listen to the latest episode and subscribe to the podcast on Deezer and iTunes.

The pair won Ligue 1 at Montepellier in 2011/12 in a title win similar to that which Premier League experienced with Leicester City, thanks to the goals of Giroud, and Belhanda believes there is not a striker in the world better than him as a target man.

“For me, Olivier is one of the best forwards in his role,” Belhanda told RMC Sport.

“He’s someone who keeps the ball up really well, who knows how to make his number 10 or his wingers play because he has a target man game few strikers have.

“There isn’t a striker in the world who’s better than him as a target man. Especially with the France team, he scores, so you can’t hold anything against him.

“At club level, he doesn’t play that much, but when you have a player in the national team who scores and helps the team win, you can’t say anything.”

Giroud one of the best in the world?

Despite falling behind Alexis Sanchez and now Alexandre Lacazette as Arsenal’s main striker, Giroud has continues to prove himself as a valuable target man.

Last season, Giroud’s 52.94% of aerial duels won per 90 minutes was only bettered by Fernando Llorente among some of the best target men in the world. By comparison, Gonzalo Higuain only won 45.71%.

The Frenchman also has the best goal scoring and chances created ratio averaging 0.89 goals, slightly ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, and 1.27 chances created per 90.

Olivier Giroud has won 62% of his headed duels in the Premier League this season