Jermaine Jenas: Why Arsenal fans shouldn’t blame Olivier Giroud

Jermaine Jenas defends Olivier Giroud after the Arsenal striker's disappointing performance on Tuesday night

Jermaine Jenas has defended Olivier Giroud’s performance in Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

The France international was handed a starting berth ahead of Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell for the visit of the Champions League holders.

It shows his confidence levels weren’t there because he wasn’t involved in the game enough

Jermaine Jenas

Giroud had a number of chances in the first leg and the France striker’s header drew a brilliant save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen to deny Arsenal a vital home-leg goal.

The 29-year-old was heavily criticised for one particular moment in the second half when he failed to pick out a team-mate in the Barcelona area and passed the ball out of play.

However, former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jenas had sympathy for Giroud after a thankless night leading the Arsenal attack against Barcelona.

“I don’t want to sugar coat it because I’ve seen Giroud play better in tougher games and have a bigger impact,” Jenas told BBC Sport.

“The ball didn’t come into the box enough for him to show the presence that he could possibly have on this Barcelona back four.

“As a forward in this game, you go through a lot of the game running around and chasing shadows because you’re on your own. That can affect your touch because you’re not involved in the game a lot.

“It seemed to effect Giroud.”

On Giroud’s wayward pass in the second half, Jenas added: “That pass typified where he was at in the game. He is on his left foot and in the box, in the Premier League, it is a dream. He would cut inside and have a shot.

“It shows his confidence levels weren’t there because he wasn’t involved in the game enough.”

Lionel Messi scored in the 71st minute to break the deadlock before the Argentina international added a second in the 83rd minute from the penalty spot.

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