Football

Arsene Wenger hails form of Olivier Giroud after match-winning double

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Olivier Giroud is in top form for Arsenal and has taken the plaudits from his manager - who thinks he can get even better.

The Frenchman's brace against Newcastle on Saturday made it seven goals in eight matches for the club, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has delighted fans by claiming that the best is still to come from his talismanic striker.

Speaking to the press after the 2-1 victory over Newcastle, Wenger revealed that Giroud is a different player to the one he signed for £12million from Montpellier back in 2012.

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"Technically (he) is a much better player and that’s why he scores goals. His touch, his link play, his finishing [has all improved]. He takes some images from when he arrived in England and today he is a better player," he told the official Arsenal website.

"“He is a player who has a good mental strength because at 22 he was playing in division three. Now he plays at Arsenal. There is still room for improvement for him."

In fact, Wenger has risked the ridicule of some by claiming that Giroud is 'one of the best in the Premier League'. However ridiculous that claim may appear to Chelsea fans, who are adamant that Diego Costa and Eden Hazard are head and shoulders above all attacking players, the statistics reveal that Giroud very much holds his own against the £32million Spanish striker in particular.

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Of the last 14 games Olivier Giroud has played, Arsenal have won 12. Giroud has scored 11 goals in that run, including the two against the Magpies on Saturday. Only Sergio Aguero has a better minutes per goal rate in all competitions this season. And this comes despite spending three months on the sideline due to injury, as well as a three-match suspension.

Everyone knows that goals grab the headlines, but link-up play and providing assists is also a key attribute to any prolific striker's game. And according to Wenger, Giroud has proved this season that he is more than just a danger man when it comes to set pieces in the opposition side's penalty box.

All-round improvement

In fact, the Gunners manager revealed his pride in seeing an improvement in his attitude and all-round play.

“(He) scores the goals, has a presence and he’s a fighter as well. Above all he is a team player - he fights for the team," added Wenger.

However, Wenger has also been quick to praise Giroud for 'playing out of his comfort zone more often', with the sight of the powerful forward making penetrating runs and attempting dribbles becoming more and more familiar this season at the Emirates Stadium.

The Arsenal manager went on: “He has also improved his technical game. Technically he is a much better player and that’s why he scores goals."

Deserved credit

Giroud's spectacular long-range strike against Manchester City earlier on in the season is testament to this claim from Wenger.

With Giroud often on the receiving end of criticism and mockery, notably after his disastrous first leg performance against Monaco in the Champions League, it seems that with his prolific goal-scoring run in the league, the Frenchman is finally and deservedly getting the praise his efforts have warranted.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger

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