​Olivier Giroud vs Emile Heskey. No, it's not a steel cage match - though we would absolutely, 100% love to see that - let's just try to decipher who should be considered the better footballer. 


It's a monumental task, so before we get into the analysis let's treat each of these legends to the gushing praise that that they deserve. 


Giroud is a beautiful fusion of grace and power. A man so charming and devilishly good looking he could sell ice to an eskimo. There's definitely a career modelling for an over 40s menswear outlet when he hangs up his boots. 


Heskey, on the other hand, is the ultimate underdog hero. The humble kid from Leicester who never put his own interests ahead of the team and had his footballing reputation tarnished by some cruel meme lord on YouTube. Ask for an assessment from the managers he played under though and you would receive nothing but glowing report cards.


There we go. They're both good players, alright? Now let's find out who was better. 


Shooting 

Olivier Giroud

​A striker's job is far more complex than sticking the ball in the onion bag, but even still, Heskey's goal record is hard to defend. Particularly in the latter stages of his career when the Englishman's output took a violent nosedive. 


He registered just two (2) goals in his final season for Bolton and never scored more than three times in a Premier League campaign while at ​Aston Villa. Overall, he managed to hit the back of the net 152 during his 720 career appearances. That's about a goal every five games...


Giroud has found scoring much easier, netting 202 times in just over 500 games so far, also hitting over 10 goals in five of his top flight seasons.


More importantly, he's got a penchant for the spectacular, though I would like to use this platform to point out that his best ever goal - a scorpion kick against ​Crystal Palace back in 2017 which won the Puskas Award - should have been ruled out for dangerous play. Look how close his studs are to Mathieu Flamini's head! He could have had his eye out. 


Nevertheless, the Frenchman easily wins this round but Heskey secures a moral victory - having never breached footballing health and safety law. 


Passing

Emile Heskey and Lee Sharpe

​Before finding his niche as an intelligent target man, Heskey lived another life as an occasional winger and poacher for ​Leicester City


This period equipped him with surprisingly impressive crossing ability and he also racked up a fair amount of assists via his patented flick-on throughout his career. 


Sorry though Emile, once again Giroud secures victory in this particular category. The 33-year-old's cultured left foot have provided some very sexy moments over the past few seasons - made all the sexier by the dreamboat's inclusion in them of course.


His trademark move while at ​Arsenal consisted of him standing on the edge of the box with his back to goal. Teammates would fire passes into him, seemingly with far too much pace, only for the frontman to - with just one touch - caress the ball over the opposition defences for an onrushing Gunner to leather it home. 


Imagine playing headers and volleys with him. Hours of drilling the ball into him, making a run and screaming: "VAN PERSIE!" as you balloon his lofted pass over the neighbour's wall for the 200th time. Giroud just stands there in disgust before winking at your mother, leading to her leaving her husband of 25 years before you've even had time to retrieve the ball.


Dribbling 

Olivier Giroud

See, this is a real head stretcher ladies and gentlemen...


In his prime Heskey was an unstoppable force with the ball. Clip it in behind the defence and he would build up a freight-train level of power in seconds. Defenders would bounce off him, the ball would stay glued to his foot out of fear of reprisals and even air molecules would quake in their boots, allowing the king to pass without any pesky wind resistance.


Giroud is also a powerful dribbler, but to nowhere near the same freakish standard. His style is much more based on trickery and deception. His first touch is insane and the first few seconds after him receiving the ball are extremely likely to result in a nutmeg or ankle breaker. 


But which approach is better? What is more fun to watch? Hmmmm.


We are gonna go with Heskey this time team, but ask me tomorrow and I might change my mind. 


Hold-Up Play

Emile Heskey,Jonny Evans

Though he is big, strong and uses his body intelligently, holding the ball up is not Giroud's principal attribute - this is pure, unadulterated Heskey territory.


The former ​Liverpool man popularity with every manager he played under - including England bosses Fabio Capello and super-shagger Sven Goran Eriksson - was cultivated by the superb ability to bring his teammates into the game. 


Two of Heskey's former strike partners, Tony Cottee and Michael Owen, have both lavished him with praise - describing how his hold-up play led to some of the most successful scoring periods of their careers. This attribute also allowed him to keep playing at a high level until his late thirties.


This one's not even close, another dub - as the kids like to say these days, for some reason - for big Emile.


Overall

Olivier Giroud

Right, cards on the table time. I love Emile Heskey - like really love him. When I sat down to write this article I wanted nothing more than to discover that he could feasibly considered better than Olivier Giroud


It's just... he's not. Sorry. 


Though Heskey's powerful dribbling and hold-up should be admired, ​Giroud's play is as smooth as those Lindor chocolate balls that your Nan gets you at Christmas.  


Elegant, creative and fairly prolific, the Frenchman wins this hands down. As for who would come out victorious in that steel cage match... it's too close to call. 


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