Arsenal erased painful memories of their defeat to AS Monaco midweek with a much-needed win in the Premier League and Olivier Giroud reminded his critics of what he is all about with a terrific display in the 2-0 victory over Everton at Emirates Stadium.
Giroud was pilloried after the 3-1 Champions League defeat on Wednesday after he missed a series of chances to keep the Gunners in touch with the Ligue 1 side, before being hooked by manager Arsene Wenger in the second half.
His removal came not too long after his most egregious err – skying the ball when faced with an open goal and the score 2-0. It was a horrendous miss and the worst of a series, which included to tough chances at the near post and a free header from eight yards out.
Wenger showed faith in him for the visit of Everton on Sunday afternoon and the France international responded with a fine display to push Arsenal to a much-needed win.
It looked early on as if the demons from the Monaco debacle would haunt him when he headed wide after getting on the end of a cuter Alexis Sanchez cross. It should have been a goal and one could envisage groans from the crowd as he missed more and more opportunities.
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It didn’t happen like that though, and Giroud must be commended for showing mental strength in the face of a personal crisis. A Santo Cazorla corner was whipped in six minutes before the break and Giroud held off John Stones before cushioning a volley into the far corner.
His reaction showed how much it meant to him after his Monaco nightmare, he turned to the crowd and bellowed with a mixture of joy and relief. He tapped his head, indicating that he had finally deduced where his problems were.
It was just what he and Arsenal needed as Everton had been in control of the game form the early stages and the goal released the pressure on what was a very tense Emirates Stadium up until then.
Giroud was charged up by the goal and set about putting in a Man of the Match display full of power, work rate and some quality link-up play. It wasn’t perfect by any means from the Gunners, but Tomas Rosicky’s late strike sealed a vital won.
Wenger’s team moved back into third place in the Premier League table and, thanks to their 2-1 defeat at Liverpool, within four points of second place defending champions, Manchester City.
Giroud showed exactly why he is so valuable to Arsenal and that his Monaco nightmare is behind him.
IS OLIVIER GIROUD GOOD ENOUGH TO LEAD THE LINE FOR ARSENAL, OR SHOULD ARSENE WENGER SIGN A NEW STRIKER? LET US KNOW BELOW!