Arsene Wenger has praised Olivier Giroud’s development after watching the France international score both goals in Arsenal’s impressive 2-0 FA Cup victory over Middlesbrough.
The brace takes the 28-year-old to 49 goals since he arrived from Montpellier three years ago and his boss says hard work on the training ground has paid dividends.
“I believe that he is a different player today than the guy who arrived here for two reasons,” Wenger said in his post-game press conference.
“One, he understands what top-level football demands, works with a great concentration in training and he has improved tremendously on his mobility, his technical quality and of course his body is very strong. He uses it very well.”
Giroud’s opener, scored from close range on 27 minutes, saw all 11 Arsenal players touch the ball in the build-up. It was followed by a ruthless second just two minutes later as the Frenchman finished on the volley from Alexis Sanchez’s quickly taken corner.
“The first goal is what we try to do in our game and our build-up,” continued Wenger.
“The second goal shows that the game belongs to the players as well because it’s a consequence of two players who respond quickly to a situation, analyse it quickly and do what they want to do well. That’s basically what it was. It’s a consequence of intelligence and technique.”
He may have been the matchwinner on the day but Giroud was full of praise for his teammates for their help setting him up.
“I’m pleased we won and I had two fantastic assists from Alexis and Gibbs. We kept another clean sheet and we carry on in our good run and we want to keep that going.
“I have been waiting for a hat-trick for over two years now and but the boss decided to take me off.”
Giroud now has 10 goals in 18 appearances this season, a pretty decent effort in light of his stop, start season. He’ll have to handsome in a hat trick on another day. Hopefully against Palace at the weekend.