Danny Welbeck’s arrival at Arsenal on transfer deadline day may have been interpreted as damaging for Olivier Giroud’s Arsenal career but it looks like it might be the making of him.
The Frenchman had looked sharp before his injury and Welbeck’s subsequent arrival, but his form since returning from the sick bay suggests he’s about to take his game to a higher level.
Before suffering his broken ankle, Giroud had rammed home a 25-yarder in the Community Shield and dragged the Gunners back from the dead against Everton with a goal and an assist.
However, since his return to the fold he has looked sharper than ever before and the Old Trafford youth product’s entrance has undoubtedly played a part.
Both of his introductions from the substitutes bench, against Manchester United and Southampton, saw Giroud change the dynamic of the games with his presence and incisiveness.
Sandwiched between those cameos, he led the line against West Brom, dispelling doubts that he and Welbeck could dovetail in the same strikeforce in the process as he swapped positions regularly with the Englishman.
As for why the third-season Gunner, 19/4 favourite to open the scoring against Stoke this weekend, seems to be operating with all new levels of threat and focus, well that’s fairly simple.
It’s down to competition. Welbeck’s promising start to life at the Emirates has thrown down the gauntlet to Giroud, who seems to be reacting in a manner that should have Gooners very excited.
Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo had represented the sum total challenge to his number-nine berth for much of his two previous seasons at Arsenal, their inferior abilities offering little threat that he would be superseded.
Thanks to the arrival of the England man that’s no longer the case, offering the tantalising prospect that the pair will push each other on to ever greater heights.