Olivier Giroud Arsenal
Olivier Giroud made a timely return from injury for ArsenalReuters

Last Saturday, Arsenal's struggles were obvious – no space in behind, so the likes of Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez's pace were nullified and with no big-man threat, all the crosses, link-up and hold-up play were pointless. Middlesbrough used a tactic that most teams use against Arsenal, and the problem for Arsene Wenger was the man most effective against such tactics – Olivier Giroud – was out injured.

Many have questioned Giroud's future at the club, especially after Wenger bought a pacy forward in Lucas Perez and Sanchez's success in the centre-forward position this season, but the Frenchman is the kind of striker that Arsenal will need quite often.

This Saturday, Arsenal will run into another side likely to defend deep, stay compact and ask their opponents to use the width of the pitch if they want, and this is where Giroud will come in. Not only is the 30-year-old a great link-up man, he is quite effective with his head as well, giving Arsenal another dimension to their attack.

So, the decision for Wenger to make for this Sunderland match is whether to switch Sanchez back over to the left and start with Giroud, who made his return from injury in the 2-0 EFL Cup win over Reading on Tuesday, up front.

As effective as Sanchez has been, this might be a game where Giroud thrives and while the France international is only just returning from injury, taking a chance with the traditional centre-forward might be the way to go.

Sunderland are a team still searching for their first win of the Premier League this season, so David Moyes's side will defend deep and for their lives, while looking to Jermain Defoe, the former Tottenham striker, to find the goals at the other end.

Going with Giroud should give Arsenal the best option of breaking down the Sunderland defence, admittedly not a defence that has thrived this season. And with Sanchez's threat still available, albeit from a wide position, it should be a win-win for Wenger.

With Theo Walcott a doubt with a tight hamstring, Wenger can stick with Alex Iwobi as well and maybe bring Mesut Ozil's playmaking skills a bit more to the fore. Arsenal do have a worry over those very playmaking skills from a deeper position, with Santi Cazorla again a major doubt, while Granit Xhaka serves the final game of his three-match suspension.

Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin are not the players you want in tandem in midfield against a team that defends deep, so Wenger needs to find a solution for that problem, if Cazorla is ruled out. Aaron Ramsey, who is likely to make the squad for the first time since the opening game of the season, is also more of a runner from deep than a playmaker, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might be an option to play down the middle.

While not of the playmaking mode, Oxlade-Chamberlain's running power down the middle could come in handy, just to take the defence out of their stride, which could in turn open up space for some of the other Arsenal players.

Having dropped two points last weekend, Wenger will know, in a season of fine margins, three points are necessary on Saturday and how he sets his team up will play a major role towards Arsenal leaving Wearside with maximum points.

Also read