GdS: ‘Not just goals’ – how Giroud became the king of assists in Serie A

By Oliver Fisher -

Looking at the assist charts for Serie A so far in 2023-24, there is a surprising name at the top of the list: Olivier Giroud.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes this morning, Saturday night’s match between Milan and Bologna at San Siro will see Giroud square off against Joshua Zirkzee who will lead the line for the visitors.

The best assister in the league is not a dribble-maniac attacking midfielder, nor even a winger who delivers crosses but instead Milan’s No.9 Giroud, who at 37 years of age continues to show his quality.

The flick-one which set Noah Okafor up to make it 3-2 in Udine is his seventh assist in this Serie A campaign and nobody has more, with only Inter’s Marcus Thuram on the same amount and he has two more appearances.

It is the other side of Giroud, the lesser-known one that unites him with players like Kvaratskhelia, Berardi, Luis Alberto, Cassano. That is, some of the forwards who were up there at the end of previous seasons.

In the last 10 seasons in Serie A, no striker has ever finished ahead of everyone for assists but Giroud is sensationally reversing the trend, distributing goals and assists in an almost scientific manner.

Take the last seven matchdays: Giroud scored goals against Atalanta, Empoli and Roma and set up his team-mates against Monza, Salernitana, Roma and Udinese. He is democratic too having served Pulisic and then Leao, Okafor (twice each), Jovic and Hernandez.

The back heel for Theo’s goal to make it 3-1 against Roma is the pearl that shines between headers and intelligent turns. The balance is completed with the two assists that UEFA awarded him in the Champions League to make nine in total.

At Arsenal Giroud reached 10 assists for two consecutive seasons, between 2012 and 2014. Splitting between being the finisher and setting up others to finish has always been a specialty of Oli, who after Udinese-Milan celebrated the milestone of 100 career assists on social media.

In 2021-22 he provided three assists, in 2022-23 five (in Serie A). What has changed? Giroud is more involved and inspired also because Milan has changed around him.

On the right, where Pulisic has raised the level (he and Giroud have gotten along great since their Chelsea days); on the left, where Theo and Leao have been joined by Reijnders. Behind him, as an attacking midfielder, Loftus-Cheek is the ideal runner for the spaces created by Giroud.

While there continues to be doubts about his future at Milan beyond the end of the current season, he is showing he can still do it at the highest level.


Tags AC Milan Olivier Giroud


  1. I feel like if he were 35 years old it would be a no brainer to extend his contract but at 37 closing in at 38, despite all the regimen and dedication he does, a sharp decline in form is almost inevitable. Do we gamble to see if he has 1 more year in him? His next year could easily look like Ibras last year with us. Im a big fan of Giroud and he has been a stellar signing for us but him putting up numbers like hes doing this season for us next year seems too good to be true.

    1. its not a gamble in any way. Giving him 1 more year and bringing in another ST (pavlidis pls) for him to mentor. He would still be very valuable as a second or thrid option. We also keep jović and just like that we have 3 strikers to choose from.

      On the other hand having Giroud go and getting a 40-50M ST and hope they integrate well is a gamble. Cant remember when a big ST purchase worked out for Milan (Bacca probably)

    2. Zlatan first played 6 months with only one ACL and then spent 6 months in rehab and then managed to play a few months (in a 50% fit). So… Comparing Giroud to THAT Zlatan is apples to oranges comparison.

    3. You could’ve said the same thing about bringing him back this year, and many did, but he’s performing even better. It would be idiotic to not bring him back solely based on age. As long as we have a solid option to back him up/ share time, we are all good.

  2. Funny, I read a comment yesterday that said his “contribution to overall play is minimal”.

    Yet he’s averaging a goal contribution every 80 minutes in Serie A. Maybe less (touches) is more ?

    In comparaison, the other two attacking starters, Pulisic and Leao, respectively have a goal contribution every 125 and 165 (!) minutes.

  3. Olivier Giroud is class ,,always has been ..I have watched him play so many times over the course of the years ..I am not surprised at all that he is still doing well ,,not just with scoring,but of course with assists…The thing is his awareness of where to be at the right time is class ,,,he knows where the teammates are ,,and know where they are arriving,,
    that’s where his speed lays ,,not in physical pace but the first few yards are in his head…
    What a player to have in your team…I just hope he does stay with us for another season ..
    This man is world class ,in and around the 18 yard area …

  4. Respectable numbers given his age. I’d keep him for another year, but with less appearances. He can’t play multiple times a week, or even every week.

    You can notice how much sharper he looks when he comes back to play after a longer break. His minutes need to be managed. If we do manage to bring in a reliable first option striker, then I don’t see how Oli and our goal contribution wouldn’t benefit from that.

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