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The competition in the Arsenal squad is as strong as ever. Since the departure of Robin Van Persie in the summer of 2012, not one major contributor to the squad has been sold, and with ever year the move to the Emirates is in the rear view mirror, Arsene Wenger has been able to be more and more aggressive in the transfer window.
As such a whole host of players have been brought to North London is the past couple of years, the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and just this summer; Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez. Consequently, the usual, entrenched starters have not found their first team role as protected as previous years and now Wenger can use the threat of rotation as a motivational tool.
Giroud, though, while he will never be the first team starter as long as Sanchez is fit and firing, should not worry that his pitch time will be reduced further with the return of Welbeck. He is another body for Wenger to consider but the unique threat that Giroud provides, a threat that no other player in the Arsenal squad can match, will protect his role.
Late in the game, if chasing a goal, there are few better players to turn to than Giroud. His aerial prowess, his physical presence and his intelligence in bringing others into play is invaluable late in games. There is no one else who can do that.
Giroud will no doubt be frustrated having lost his starting role this season but unfortunately, given the success that Arsenal have enjoyed with the high pressing, high-intensity style that comes with Sanchez in the central role, he will not earn that back. Welbeck returning offers Wenger more options but it does not make Giroud completely obsolete.