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Arsenal's Olivier Giroud is an unsung hero

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Much has been made of Arsenal's incredible start to the season and the reasons behind this - the arrival of the outstanding Mesut Ozil; the blistering form of Aaron Ramsey and the defensive steel added to the midfield by Mathieu Flamini.

Olivier Giroud is as crucial to Arsene Wenger's side as any of these - if not more so.

For all the brilliance that Ozil possesses, any time on the sidelines for the German will mean simply slotting in Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere or Mikel Arteta - whichever of these midfielders were unlucky enough to find themselves on the bench - in his place.

There is also the option of drafting in Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain once the jet-heeled pair return from injury. Absences in the midfield can be covered - the same cannot be said if Giroud was to pick up an injury. 

All of the aforementioned midfielders have proved themselves adequate to fill in spaces - Giroud has been a constant of the Arsenal side from the first game.

Both his potential replacements, Lukas Podolski and Walcott, are currently injured. Even when they return, they would find incredibly big shoes to fill if they were needed to replace Giroud.

Podolski has been rather hit-and-miss in his one full season at the Emirates, with some doubt over his best position, while Walcott as a central striker is an entirely different type of player to Giroud. 

Yes, he provides a nightmare for defenders when latching on to through balls - but he will not hold the ball up or get involved in team play anywhere near as much as Giroud does. 

Wenger's style of football works best when his midfield and attacking trios are working perfectly in tandem, and Giroud is the glue that holds it together. If any evidence was needed to prove this point, you only need to be nudged in the direction of the wonderful team goal scored by Wilshere against Norwich.

He linked exquisitely with the diminutive Englishman twice in the same move. Could you picture Walcott or Podolski linking up like that? 

Another assist was bagged against the Canaries before the England game, taking both his goal and assist tallies to four each this season in the Premier League - on average, he is directly involved in a goal-a-game. 

He took a lot of stick last season for a series of missed chances - he would not be the first player to come to England and struggle in his first season.

Nemanja Vidic was not exactly a duck to water at Manchester United, but his influence over time became a thing of fame in that incredible run of clean sheets alongside Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar.

Often such fine margins decide games. If Giroud stays fit, Arsenal have a cog who can link with Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere - anyone, for the entirety of the season.

Maybe, just maybe then, they can start dreaming big.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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