16 Feb 2015

Arsene Wenger hails Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud

Arsène Wenger believes Olivier Giroud is a player transformed from the one he signed in 2012 after the striker’s two goals sent Arsenal into the FA Cup sixth round at the expense of a surprisingly lacklustre Middlesbrough.

The former Montpellier forward has endured a season interrupted first by a broken leg in August and then by suspension following his sending off against QPR on Boxing Day, but the goals against Boro took his tally into double figures for the campaign. More than that he has improved his work-rate and added to his game a rugged edge that befits a striker of his 6ft 4in frame.
“Giroud is today a different player to the guy that arrived here,” said the Arsenal manager. “He understands what top level football demands – he works with a great concentration in training and he has improved in his mobility tremendously and his technical quality. And of course his body is very strong and he uses it very well.”
Giroud’s success as a central striker – and the versatility of Wenger’s other attacking options – means that Danny Welbeck continues to patrol the flanks. Welbeck has previously expressed his interest in playing as Arsenal’s middle man but Wenger is confident that the man he bought from Manchester United for £16m in August is excelling out wide.
“One of the reasons I bought him is that he can play as a central striker and wide,” said the Arsenal manager. “I believe he is doing extremely well, he is contributing very well to the team. All the strikers I have can play in different positions. The only one maybe who can only play centre-forward is Giroud, so when Giroud plays the others have to move out wide.”
Credit: John Ashdown/Guardian Sport

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