Martin Keown claims Arsenal have one of Europe’s best strikers (not Alexis Sanchez)

The ex-Arsenal defender makes a bold claim about France international Olivier Giroud

Martin Keown has claimed that Arsenal star Olivier Giroud is one of the best strikers in Europe.

The France international started the season out-of-favour under Arsene Wenger after the Gunners boss opted to start Alexis Sanchez in a centre-forward role in the Arsenal side.

However, Wenger turned to Giroud following Arsenal’s disappointing run over the Christmas schedule and the Gunners boss was rewarded for his faith in his compatriot.

The 30-year-old scored the winner in a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium before going on to find the back of the net against Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Preston North End and Swansea City.

Giroud has scored 10 times in 20 appearances in all competitions for the north London side despite being limited to just seven starts.

Speaking to BBC Sport’s Football Focus ahead of Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, Keown was full of praise for Giroud.

“You couldn’t say he makes Arsenal’s best XI, but he’s a different tool in the box, he comes off the bench, he scores very late goals,” Keown said.

“You look across Europe and you wonder how many strikers out there are really any better than him.

“And the goals he’s scoring now he seems to be reaching a new level. There’s a determination in his play.

“Giroud is very important to them now.”

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Arsenal are eight points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

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