Theo Walcott’s Arsenal absence gives Olivier Giroud his chance

Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud offer Arsene Wenger two very different options up front, but with Walcott set to miss three matches through injury, the Gunners boss must hope Giroud becomes a consistent goal threat.

The Frenchman has been happy to play the team game for Arsenal this season, with Walcott impressing on numerous occasions – notably against Manchester United – and it was that form which saw the England international handed the starting role in the win over Bayern Munich.

Arsenal’s memorable 2-0 win over the German champions showcased both Walcott and Giroud at their best.

Former Montpellier man Giroud was given the nod for the home clash with Everton last weekend and he duly delivered with the opening goal in Arsenal’s 2-1 Premier League win.

He was also in the starting line up against Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, with Walcott on the bench. While that may have been an indication that the opposite would apply this Saturday when Arsenal head to Swansea, Walcott’s enforced absence opens the door for his French colleague.

The 29-year-old is 4/1 to open the scoring as he did last week versus Everton, while he can be backed with Ladbrokes at 23/20 to score any time.

Arsenal have scored in all four Premier League visits to the Liberty Stadium, and with Giroud’s hold-up play excelling against Bayern Munich and Everton, it could prove worthwhile looking at the Gunners’ other goal threats too.

Despite the League Cup exit, Wenger will have been delighted to rest Alexis Sanchez in midweek, with the Chilean failing to score in his last two appearances after a scintillating 10 goals in six games for club and country.

But with a week off, and no international commitments, the 26-year-old is 9/2 to bag the opener on Saturday afternoon, and 5/4 to net any time.

Another beneficiary of Giroud’s holding and link-up play could well be Mesut Ozil.

The German has been in fine form of late, netting the second against Bayern before turning provider for Giroud’s opener against Everton.

Ozil is priced at 15/2 to score first in south west Wales, and 2/1 anytime.

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

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