Football

Olivier Giroud: I regret head-butting Nedum Onuoha

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Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud admits he made a big mistake by head-butting Nedum Onuoha during the Premier League meeting with Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day.

The France international received a red card and three-game ban following his angry reaction to an incident he brandished as "dangerous" at the back end of last year, but ultimately failed to justify his uncharacteristic conduct in the 2-1 win in December 2014.

As a result Giroud issued a belated apology to Arsene Wenger and the Gunners supporters after reflecting on the rush of blood to the head that came over him at the Emirates Stadium that day.

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"I got scared when their player pushed me because I thought I could have hurt myself badly in a clash with the goalkeeper," explained the Arsenal talisman in an interview with the club's official website.

"That's why I reacted so badly. I shouldn't have and I regretted it but I believe what he did was dangerous as he didn't need to push me."

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Giroud cited two other incidents involving other Arsenal team-mates over the course of the current campaign as reason why he felt at risk of suffering a serious injury had he been unfortunate enough to collide with the outrushing opposition goalkeeper Robert Green.

The dislocated shoulder suffered by summer signing Mathieu Debuchy after his compatriot clattered into the advertising hoardings following a push by a Stoke City player in the January clash in north London was highlighted by the 28-year-old as a prime example.

Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck also crashed into Tottenham Hotspur stopper Hugo Lloris after Danny Rose nudged the England international in a ferocious north London derby encounter at White Hart Lane at the start of 2015.

"Since then we have had two recent examples of similar actions," explained Giroud. "Debuch got seriously injured because of a push by a Stoke player when there was no need for him to be pushed away.

"It was the same for Danny [Welbeck] against Tottenham when [Danny] Rose pushed him towards [Hugo] Lloris and he got hit by his knee. But of course that incident was wrong from me and not a good example."

Giroud still acknowledges that his behaviour was uncalled for and that there's no place for it in the modern game, sending a clear message to young kids that his knee-jerk reaction should not be repeated.

It's great to see the former Montpellier man coming out and accepting the error of his ways. Too many times players shy away from the responsibilities that come with being a professional footballer, acting as a role model for those that aspire to be like their Premier League heroes.

Hopefully Giroud's comments will deter others from acting in a similarly aggressive fashion, after highlighting the dangers that come with such outlandish behaviour.

Role model

The Gunners marksman will certainly not want to spend any more time on the sidelines after missing the first three months of 2014/15 with injury. He took a while to get back up to speed following his return to match fitness, but with five goals in as many Premier League games he's certainly rediscovered his goalscoring touch.

After netting in Saturday's 3-0 victory over West Ham United, Giroud will be attempting to help fire Arsenal into the Champions League quarter-finals as they attempt to recover from a 3-1 deficit from the first leg against AS Monaco when they take on their Ligue 1 opponents in the return encounter at Stade Louis II this evening.

Arsenal fans: Can Arsenal turn things around in France this evening and progress to the last eight of the Champions League? Have your say in the comment box below!

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Topics:
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