5 Things We Learned From Arsenal 2-0 Middlesbrough


Olivier Giroud Is More Than Just A Pretty Face

He gets a lot of stick, does Olivier Giroud. Probably a little bit too much in fairness.

Whether it’s from the vented spleen of Piers Morgan on Twitter or from Arsenal supporters who feel that he spends too much time looking in the mirror and not enough practicing his finishing, the Frenchman is something of an easy target, and a player who has been accused of not turning up in the big games.

You couldn’t really call this one that big of a game for Arsenal, but Giroud has scored for them at Anfield and the Etihad Stadium since returning from his broken leg earlier this season, and here he took his two goals with almost effortless ease, looking every inch a model forward.

 

And That’s Bad News For Danny Welbeck

Arsenal v Middlesbrough - FA Cup Fifth Round : News Photo

When he arrived at Arsenal from Manchester United at the beginning of the season, the noise around Danny Welbeck was that he wanted to be played as a central striker and not stationed out wide.

Whilst Giroud was out he did just that to varying degrees of success, but he at least showed promise in the position and was crying out to be trusted there.

Welbeck can’t help but have looked on enviously as Giroud’s two finishes, and he has to wonder just where the Frenchman’s good form leaves him in his manager’s plans, hopefully not out wide in them.

 

Kieran Gibbs Showed What He’s Capable Of

In amongst all of Arsenal’s well-established attacking talent, one of their best performers in coming forward was the left-back Kieran Gibbs.

Injuries and a loss of form have seen the Englishman omitted from the side in favour of Nacho Monreal in recent weeks, but he must think that he’s a better option for Arsene Wenger than the Spaniard is, and this was a good example of why.

 

Middlesbrough Are Better Than This

Arsenal v Middlesbrough - FA Cup Fifth Round : News Photo

Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough side are one of the favourites for promotion to the Premier League, but on a third visit to one of the cathedrals of that division this season they never got going.

After taking Liverpool all the way to penalties in the League Cup at Anfield and of course beating Manchester City at the Etihad they would have been in high spirits here, but Karanka perhaps respected his opposition too much. Boro dropped off and when you do that against Arsenal you are going to be punished.

 

The Back-To-Back Dream Remains Alive

With this tournament now seeming to be a straight fight between Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, much attention will be placed on the quarter-final draw tomorrow and the possibility of two of them being drawn against each other. 

The Gunners have every chance of a second successive FA Cup victory, and in a season when a title challenge has again been beyond them, the shiniest of consolation prizes remains very much in view.