• Premier League

Giroud silenced critics, says Wenger

ESPN staff
April 19, 2014
Olivier Giroud has scored 20 goals this season despite dealing with turbulence in his personal life © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger believes Olivier Giroud proved his doubters wrong with his stunning strike in the 3-1 win against West Ham.

Giroud took his tally for the season to 20 goals on Tuesday night, when he held off two players to collect a high ball with one deadly touch on his left foot and then slot it between the goalkeeper's legs with his right.

Earlier this season, the striker was the subject of a scandal caused by allegations that he spent the night with an underwear model in the team hotel, but his compatriot Wenger has been impressed by how he has managed to get his focus back on football.

"It was a bit physical and mental as well with what happened to him, but Olivier is a strong lad with a strong mentality and he is a strong, positive guy," said Wenger, whose side travel to East Yorkshire on Sunday for an FA Cup final dress rehearsal against Hull looking to consolidate their place in the Premier League's top four.

"He has a great mentality which is what I think got him back [on form]. He has scored 20 goals - that is a great record and he is working very hard for the team.

"The quality of the goal [against West Ham] gives him confidence again, and it gives him credibility again for people who questioned his ability, so that is important.

"He has improved his finishing, but there is still some room for improvement, for example you expect him to score more headers."

The 27-year-old has made 46 appearances this season, including 32 starts in the Premier League, as he shoulders the burden of Arsenal's attack.

Wenger continued: "Up front it is difficult because every challenge he goes into is physical.

"Olivier is not a guy who moves away from people to get the ball, he is a guy who fights with people to get the ball.

"When he comes out of the game he has 50 fights behind him. That is more demanding than the guy who just runs away."

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