Arsenal striker given boost ahead of FA Cup final rehearsal

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On the odd occasion during a football season, the fixture list throws up its own set of quirks that really right a game’s narrative for you.

In a few weeks time, Arsenal will travel to Wembley to try and win their first piece of silverware for what feels like an eternity, against Hull.

This weekend they face the exact same opposition in a warm up to that nerve-wrangling showpiece. However, Arsenal’s botox-tight fight for a top-four finish with Everton means Arsene Wenger can’t afford to keep any secrets back for the Wembley clash, with a win of vital importance to him.

That means the over-used services of Olivier Giroud, who has been boosted to score the first goal of the game from 9/2 to 11/2, will be called upon once again up front.

The Frenchman has started 32 league games for Arsenal this season, more than any other striker in the league, because there isn’t a trusted deputy to give him a break every now and then.

Throw other competitions into the mix and Giroud has taken to the pitch 41 times already this term, with only 10 matches going by without his name among the starting XI.

Such a regular work load has seen his fast start to proceedings tail off. However, with six goals in his last 11 games for his north London employers the spark is starting to flitter back and his touch and finish against West Ham last time out proved it was his energy, rather than talent, that had been on the wane.

Exactly half of Giroud’s 14 league goals this season have broken the game’s deadlock and with Hull shipping first in over 50 per cent of their Premier League assignments this term, this looks to have a win for Ladbrokes price boost followers written all over it.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.