Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole believes Olivier Giroud will be a big miss for Arsenal over the winter period.

Giroud injured his hamstring during the 1-0 win over West Ham on Tuesday night. Arsene Wenger initially ruled him out for three weeks, but there has been no update as of yet.

Although he’s not been a regular this season, the Frenchman’s absence will be a big blow for Arsenal. That’s the view of former Manchester United striker Andy Cole, who feels the Gunners will miss the 31-year-old’s aerial presence the most.

β€œIt is a big loss, even if he is not starting week in, week out,” he told Football on 5: The Carabao Cup. “He is an option and the past couple of games he has done very well for them. They will miss his height and his ability in the air. They will have to deal with it and move on from there.”

Giroud has started just one Premier League game this season. He is, though, Wenger’s go-to substitute and has appeared 14 times off the bench. All four of his league goals have come from his late introductions in games – with three coming in the final ten minutes.

Olivier Giroud

The Frenchman has gotten into the habit of popping up with late equalisers or winners. His aerial prowess gives Arsenal another option when they’re struggling to break down the opposition. It’s already proven useful against Leicester and Southampton this season.

With the fixtures piling up throughout the remainder of December and January, Arsenal will be depending on Alexandre Lacazette for goals. Should the summer signing struggle to find the net, the Gunners aren’t blessed with the most convincing alternatives – an out-of-form Alexis Sanchez, an unwanted Theo Walcott or Danny Welbeck.

And while Welbeck did score the winner against West Ham, he’s hardly the most reliable goalscorer around. In addition, Arsenal will now have one less attacker they can use to rotate in the squad.

Arsenal could play up to four cup games in January, on top of the already crowded Premier League schedule. Fans still have their doubts about him, but there’s no questioning Giroud’s usefulness.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,