Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised Frenchman Olivier Giroud, saying that the striker has improved massively this season and that he is among the best in Europe (via Arsenal.com). The manager was addressing the press ahead of Arsenal’s game against Aston Villa tomorrow, and took the time to compliment Giroud for his performances against Olympiacos midweek.
The striker was in hot form against the Greek side, scoring all three of Arsenal’s goals on the night and notching up his first ever hat-trick for the North London side. Giroud’s tally now stands at 10 goals in his previous 12 appearances for the club, which is quickly making this his most efficient season yet. Wenger acknowledged this, saying “He has gone through this calendar year with ups and downs but overall it is typical Olivier Giroud. That means when it doesn’t work, he puts effort in.
“I believe recently he has come back with an improved game and with his finishing. Wednesday was one of his best performances on all fronts, I must say. If you look at his record, I believe he has special qualities that are difficult to find.
“You want him to be efficient as well. Where he has improved a lot is his link play with the other players, and that’s very important in our team. He’s a guy who wants always to improve and he has a positive mentality, and a strong one.
“I think that’s why he has come back in a very strong way. We are in a job where you have to accept that in every game, you are questioned. In his job, as a centre forward, [it’s] even more. If you don’t score for three games, you’re questioned again. That’s part of the job.
“If you look at the number of games and the number of goals, you have to give him credit. He’s not only a goalscorer, he’s a guy who puts work in for the team. I think he’s among the best strikers in Europe.”
Giroud’s main strength has always been his ability to hold up the ball and bring his teammates into play, something that synergises very well with Arsenal’s general philosophy. Getting players like Sanchez and Ozil into play is certainly a massive benefit, but ultimately Giroud is a striker who is expected to provide the finishing touches to the team’s attacking moves.
Over the past few seasons he has not delivered goal tallies that would be expected for a club like Arsenal, but this season’s improved Giroud seems capable of hitting that 20+ landmark per season. Added to him, Walcott’s development as a finisher means that we finally have the capability to produce the goals on a regular basis against even the biggest of opposition. The results of that are clearly visible in the Premier League, and hopefully Giroud continues in this vein of form into the New Year as well.