Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has been on the periphery of the squad all season, making the majority of his appearances from the substitutes’ bench. The French international is behind the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck in the pecking order, but has a chance of returning to the starting XI in Monday’s clash with Middlesbrough given his physical superiority.
Giroud has scored and created 12 goals in 826 minutes in the Premier League this season, capitalising on his greater strength in the penalty area and his cool head to finish in tight confines. He doesn’t have the same athleticism as Sanchez or Welbeck, but Middlesbrough’s deep, defensive style will mean such pace won’t threaten the North-East outfit.
Having a focal point to get the ball to early could unsettle Middlesbrough’s defence. If manager Arsene Wenger has pacey players operating either side of Giroud, the Gunners can successfully hit Boro on the break to devastating effect. Welbeck has led the line in recent weeks but his poor form should lead to Giroud’s return.
With Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to support the Frenchman in attack, Arsenal will have balls coming into the box to set up chances for Giroud at the Riverside Stadium. Despite the three defeats from their last six games in all competitions, Arsenal are 4/7 to win against Middlesbrough on Monday evening. Will Giroud lead the line?