Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the recent criticism of striker Olivier Giroud has been over the top and is pleased that the France international has bounced back in style.
Giroud was heavily criticised after his performance against AS Monaco in the Champions League last week - respected French publication L'Equipe awarded him a 2/10 rating following several missed chances - but scored his second goal in four days against Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old opened the scoring with a poacher's finish midway though the second half, while Alexis Sanchez secured the three points five minutes later.
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Wenger defends Giroud
Speaking in his post-match press conference after the match, Wenger was quoted by Arsenal's official website as saying: "He’s strong mentally. He can take some criticism and respond. He’s shown that.
"I feel it was a bit harsh for him because he missed some chances. That can happen. Where we were guilty was to concede the goal."
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Giroud has scored 13 goals in 22 appearances this season - but do Arsenal need someone with a little more class in attack?
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Abou Diaby set to leave Arsenal
Wenger, meanwhile, has hinted that the perennially-injured Abou Diaby is set to leave the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season.
The 28-year-old, whose current deal expires at the end of the campaign, has made one first-team appearance all season and is expected to be released on a free this summer.
Speaking after the QPR win, Wenger was quoted by The Sun as saying: “The only thing I can say about Diaby is that he progresses well in training. He goes step by step but is not yet in a position to play.
“I will have to talk to him soon about his contract. I plan to do that this month.”
Arsenal are now focused on signing a new midfield enforcer, with Southampton's France international Morgan Schneiderlin their top transfer target.
Is Schneiderlin good enough for Arsenal? Tell us by leaving a comment in the box below!
Gabriel Paulista faces three weeks out
And finally, Gabriel Paulista confirmed his status as a genuine Arsenal player on Wednesday night by suffering a muscle injury which will keep him out of action for three weeks.
The £11.3 million January signing, who impressed at Villarreal prior to his move to the Emirates Stadium, was subbed off at Loftus Road after 36 minutes after suffering a hamstring injury.
Wenger confirmed after the match that the central defender will be out for around 21 days - ruling him out of Monday night's FA Cup quarter-final clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Will Arsenal beat Manchester United on Monday night? Post your score predictions in the comments below!
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