Arsenal lock horns with Aston Villa this weekend, and striker Olivier Giroud is expected to lead the line. The French international is coming off the back of having scored a hat-trick in the Champions League, and has been a good omen in this fixture since his arrival from Montpellier. Giroud has only been on the losing side in one of their seven meetings against the Midlands outfit, and has a knack for scoring past them too.
The 29-year-old has scored in each of his last four meetings against Aston Villa in all competitions, with his most recent coming in the FA Cup final in May. Following another impressive campaign for goals, Giroud is starting to take the plaudits, and he’s being regarded as one of the better centre-forwards in Europe for his consistent scoring record in a difficult division.
He will be tough for the Villa defence to keep quiet, and looks in the best shape of his career. Giroud scored 14 goals in 21 league starts last season, and already has eight to his name in nine starts. The Frenchman lost his place to Theo Walcott early on, but forced himself back in the fray following some goalscoring introductions from the bench, giving manager Arsene Wenger little choice be to start him.
Teammate Mathieu Flamini believes being dropped held him in good stead. He said: “Competition is very important in the big teams – it makes players stronger and that is what happened. It is tough competition up front and Olivier is responding very well because he is playing better and better. That is part of the game and if you want to play at a big club you have that competition.”
Olivier Giroud is 1/1 to score anytime against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, but can he strike again?