Olivier Giroud is a divisive figure even amongst Arsenal fans. Some laud his ability on the ball and his linkup play. Others say he’s too slow, and that his numbers are just the product of playing for a team with so much attacking talent.
Either way, the Frenchman’s continuing absence through injury was heavily felt yesterday as the Gunners dropped two points against a dogged Boro side. Late in the game Arsenal needed to get the ball forward, but had only the miniature Lucas Perez, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez to aim for. The 185cm Ben Gibson and 190cm Daniel Ayala snapped up everything that came in to the box aerially, and the deep lying Boro midfield prevented Arsenal breaking their line with clever interplay.
Arsene Wenger’s side were in desperate need of a powerful player in the box to disrupt the comfortable Boro backline. Without Giroud there to be that presence, the North London side couldn’t threaten Aitor Karanka’s side.