Olivier Giroud has been under scrutiny most of this season as questions have been raised over his ability to be Arsenal’s main man upfront. However, after a hat-trick last week against Olympiakos that saw them through to the next stage of the Champions League, and the opening goal at Villa Park last night, Arsene Wenger believes the striker deserves his due credit.
Wenger said, ‘I believe he is at the top of his game. He is questioned sometimes but finally the numbers get people to realise he is a good player.’
Giroud has scored a total of 15 goals in the 17 games he has started this season for the Gunners. Five of these have been in the Champions in which Arsenal almost blew their chance of advancing into in the next round. The 29 year old it seems has improved when it comes to responding under pressure.
‘Olivier has improved technically. His link play is better and when you have the option to go for long balls he is always an interesting option.’ Wenger added. ‘He’s not got electric pace, he is more a player who likes to play with his back to goal. He is not spectacular individually but he is a very efficient player for the team. Mentally he is very strong.’
Alexis Sanchez who has been the main provider of pace for the London club, is on the sidelines due to injury. While it was anticipated the club would suffer due to his absence, Arsenal has done pretty well so far.
Arsenal is also missing Santi Cazorla, but the team has fared better than expected. This is why Wenger believes players deserve their due credit, especially Giroud who has produced goals which he has mostly been criticised for.
Arsenal have a crucial fixture coming against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. They will be without Cazorla but Wenger says there’s a slight chance Sanchez might return for the game.