During Arsenal’s superb victory over Olympiacos, Olivier Giroud scored his first hat-trick while wearing an Arsenal jersey in what has been the French forward’s best season yet for the Gunners.

He almost single-handedly saved the Arsenal’s European campaign and continues to prove that he’s not only one of the finest strikers in the Premier League but also the world.

Giroud has currently notched 14 goals for the Gunners with nine coming in 10 Premier League appearances and an additional five coming in four Champions League matchers. His games-to-scoring ratio is the best it has ever been. If the forward can stay healthy, he’s on pace to be recognised as one of the Premier League’s players of the season.

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Much of Giroud’s success has been attributed to an increased amount of playing time as a result of Alexis Sanchez sitting on the sidelines for the past several weeks. The Chilean striker went down with a hamstring injury that has kept him off the pitch, but there are reports that Sanchez will be reporting for training this week. However, there is still much speculation as to whether or not he’ll be ready for the Gunners’ big game against Manchester City on Monday.

Manager Arsene Wenger has praised Giroud’s current form and said that Giroud often receives an unfair amount of criticism for his performance on the pitch.

“I believe he is at the top of his game,” Wenger said. “He is questioned sometimes but finally the numbers get people to realise he is a good player.”

Outside of the impressive performance of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, Giroud is scoring more consistently than anyone else right now in the Premier League. Depending on how much playing time he gets with the return of Sanchez, you can probably count on the Frenchman to score plenty more before the year is out. All of this for a 29-year-old striker who was originally purchased in 2012 for less than £10 million makes the long game of Arsene Wenger look remarkably shrewd.

To give you an idea of what a deal Giroud has been, Manchester United signed 20-year-old French striker Anthony Martial for a whopping £36 million. He has managed to only score three times in 10 matches for the Red Devils. That fact reinforces the general rule-of-thumb that major-money signings are rarely Golden Boot candidates and that the smart money is on in-form players like Vardy and Giroud.

The weekend win against the struggling Aston Villa has put Arsenal back on top and one point ahead of Manchester City as we near the holiday break. With Sanchez set to return by the year’s end along with midfielders Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin, we expect the Gunners to continue to improve as the season progresses.

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