I wrote a short while ago about how Arsenal are bouncing back from their disappointments much quicker this season and Giroud is a prime example of just that. It would have been all too easy for him to suffer a crisis of confidence after that Monaco game, but he has done the exact opposite. For those who like the odd flutter the mixture of Giroud to score first and Arsenal to win has been very profitable bet since that night.
Giroud is well on course to score 20 goals in all competitions this season despite suffering a leg break early on and missing nine league games as well as some cup games. He also had to sit in the stands for three games after his needless sending off against QPR, but he has come back to prove his critics (including me) wrong.
I can't think of any other team in the Premier League who will have two players on 20 goals this season, but it looks like Giroud and Alexis Sanchez will both reach that mark for Arsenal. The team are well on course to reach 100 goals in all competitions too and it's been a while since Arsenal possessed the scoring power and attacking options they have right now. Those attacking options give them a chance against any team and will hopefully bring home a trophy for the second season in a row and qualify them for the Champions League yet again.
The weekend went well for Arsenal as they squeezed out a narrow victory away to Newcastle despite some tired legs after the players gave their all in Monaco on Tuesday night. Those three points kept them a point behind second placed City, but unfortunately Chelsea scraped a win away to Hull on Sunday. I just can't see Arsenal making up the ground on Chelsea with only eight games to go and Chelsea having a game in hand too.
The other game at the top of the table on Sunday would ideally have ended in a draw from an Arsenal perspective, but United went to Liverpool and took all three points. It means United stay one point behind Arsenal and are right in there in the battle for second place, but Arsenal are six points ahead of Liverpool. Those six points could be crucial between now and the end of the season as Arsenal have to play at home to both Liverpool and Chelsea as well as travelling to United in their last eight games.
Both Spurs and Southampton won their games on Saturday to keep their slimmer hopes of a top four finish alive, but they have a fair deal of ground to make up. Southampton are finding goals hard to come by despite their good defensive record while Spurs are conceding far too many goals for a team with top four aspirations. I think the three Champions League places behind Chelsea will be between Arsenal, City, United and Liverpool with the other two having to much to do now.
Of all of those teams Arsenal are the form team with nine wins in their last 10 league games and 14 wins in their last 16 games in all competitions. The goals are coming easier than they have been all season and the defence looks so much stronger with Francis Coquelin sitting in front of it. I'm not saying second place is a certainty for Arsenal, but they look very good for it and the FA Cup is their's for the taking too,
Of course their league fate will be decided by the three games against the teams around them and I expect all of those games to be very close. I think the crucial game in there could be the one at home to Liverpool and that's the first game after the international break. If they can beat Liverpool and open up a nine point gap with seven games to play I think a top four finish will be almost guaranteed. Hopefully that international break will be kind on the Arsenal players and they will all come back raring to go for the rest of the season.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.