Olivier Giroud’s polished performances for Arsenal this season have gone a long way to silencing his critics.
And even Sky pundit and former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has been won over by the France striker’s form in and around the box for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Speaking ahead of the Gunners’ hosting Brendan Rodgers’ side in the Premier League tomorrow, Redknapp said he has been impressed with Giroud’s ability under pressure.
And he highlighted just how vital Giroud is to the north London side given Nicklas Bendtner’s toothless display in the Capital One Cup defeat at the hands of Chelsea at the Emirates on Tuesday.
He said: “I must admit I was one of the non-believers when he first signed and I hold my hands up he has really surprised us all.
“Not only his goals but his assists, the way he brings people into play, and I think it made us realise in midweek how much they need him, how much they miss him.
“Because when he doesn’t play they look like they haven’t got that focal point, that confidence around the whole place.
“I think he has become such an important player for them, every time that ball goes into him, he can either hold it up, he can lay it off.
“He’s got a very subtle touch, he’s not just a big battering ram, he’s a very talented footballer, and he’s been a big signing for Arsene Wenger, because you feel if they hadn’t had him, where would the goals have come from, where would the assists have come from?
Redknapp predicts Giroud will become even better if Wenger delves into the transfer market when the window opens in January.
He added: “You just think if he gets one or two players around him, they’ll be even better.”