Writing in his latest column, prior to this weekend’s big Premier League clash between the two London-based clubs at the Emirates Stadium, the 53-year-old Scot named Giroud in his combined Arsenal/Chelsea XI - but could find no room for Costa.
This is despite the fact Costa has scored five more Premier League goals than Giroud so far in this, his debut campaign in England.
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“Up front, on his own, I’d have Olivier Giroud over Diego Costa,” Nicholas wrote. “Look at Giroud’s stats, he’s been sensational when he’s been fit this season.
“He’s turning into the perfect Premier League striker with his power, touch, heading ability and confidence – he’s really moved up a level this year.”
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Nicholas' combined Arsenal/Chelsea XI
Despite Nicholas’ strong affiliation with Arsenal, he named a balanced combined XI, featuring just four Gunners’ stars.
Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez were the three Arsenal players he named alongside Giroud.
The rest of the team was comprised of Thibaut Courtois - “the best goalkeeper in the world right now,” Nicholas states - Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard.
Giroud has been excellent this season - when fit
Giroud has been in excellent form of late - the France international has scored nine goals in his previous 11 Premier League appearances - but he arguably falls just short of being a top-class centre-forward.
His record of 18 goals in 27 appearances this season, however, suggests 28-year-old Giroud is becoming more clinical in front of goal.
Unfortunately, though, the former Montpellier striker has endured an injury-hit campaign. Had he managed to stay fit, he would surely be pushing Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Costa for the Premier League Golden Boot award.
Costa has justified £32m transfer fee
Costa has been out of action for the past couple of weeks with a hamstring injury but could return for this weekend’s visit to the Emirates.
The Spain international’s form has dipped since the turn of the New Year, but he remains Chelsea’s most dangerous centre-forward.
A return of 20 league goals or more in his first season in England, culminating in Chelsea’s winning the Premier League title for the first time since 2010, would mean Costa will have already justified the £32 million that the Blues paid to Atletico Madrid last summer.
So, which player is better as a lone centre-forward: Olivier Giroud or Diego Costa? Tell us by leaving a comment in the box below!
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