Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud's exemplary attitude should earn him a rare start against Paris Saint-Germain

 
Trevor Steven
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Giroud has scored once every 37 minutes in the league this season (Source: Getty)

It's clear that Olivier Giroud, with just one solitary start to his name so far this season, is not Arsene Wenger’s No1 choice to play centre-forward for Arsenal any more.

Wenger believes that his team are best with a fast, fluid front line and I think he’s right; the most effective way to play in the Premier League is to turn defences, and for that you need quicker players than Giroud.

But it wouldn’t surprise me to see him start tonight against Paris Saint-Germain, with qualification for the last 16 assured and the man keeping him out of the team, Alexis Sanchez, perhaps in need of a rest.

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It would be no more than Giroud deserved. Despite playing almost entirely off the substitutes’ bench, the Frenchman is averaging a goal every 37 minutes in the top-flight this term.

He has also shown an exemplary attitude. In any successful squad you need players who will come on and prove a point, who keep throwing questions at the manager with their performances.

Maybe further down the line he’ll throw his toys out of the pram but that doesn’t seem to be happening at Arsenal at the moment, and there seems to be an improved mindset all round.

Gunners keep firing til the end

This feels like a stronger, better equipped Gunners squad, who have more determination to stay in games and have worked out ways of getting something when they look beaten.

It has been visible in some of their Champions League fixtures: grabbing a draw with PSG in France, and then fighting back to beat Ludogorets Razgrad when they were two down and it could have really gone south.

Then there is Saturday’s match at Manchester United, in which Giroud came off the bench to head a wonderful old-fashioned goal and snatch Arsenal a late point that probably felt like more.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s old United sides used to have that sort of conviction and staying power. They’ve set a standard for themselves now and know that they can do it again.

Why Arsenal should beat PSG

Arsenal’s performance in Manchester wasn’t brilliant. They had possession yet lacked cutting edge. But it can be difficult to go to Old Trafford when United are fired up, and a draw was a positive result.

They’ve had a good rest since then and tonight offers an opportunity to maintain their momentum.

I don’t think PSG are as good as last year. A look at their goal tally – they have five fewer in Ligue 1 than at this stage last season – shows they are not the same free-flowing side.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have looked good in their home Champions League games, scoring eight and conceding none. They should be winning in north London and, even though it’s PSG, I expect them to continue.

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