Opponents often complain about the physicality of Olivier Giroud claims Wenger

Published 01/01/17 

Arsene Wenger has revealed that opponents often complain to him about the physicality of Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.

The French striker offers a more robust presence to Arsenal’s attack and proved his worth in style on Monday, overpowering West Brom defender Gareth McAuley to score the 86th minute winner with a superb header past Ben Foster.

It was a crucial goal for both Arsenal, who remained within nine points of league leaders Chelsea, and Giroud, who has struggled for regular opportunities since Wenger switched Alexis Sanchez to a central striking role.

However Wenger has been impressed by Giroud’s willingness to battle for his place and noted that the fighting spirit was equally evident when the Frenchman was on the pitch.

Reviewing Arsenal’s Boxing Day win Wenger said: “When you watch the game, I think it was a penalty on Olivier Giroud on the cross that led to his goal, but despite that he had the strength and the determination to resist and still place the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach. Olivier has received a lot of praise for the goal – and he deserves it.

“He has improved a lot in the air. His numbers were poor in France but he is a very intelligent player and he realised he could add something to the team by using his strength and height. Many times I speak to mangers after a game and they all say their central defenders complain that he is a handful and very difficult to play against. That is the biggest compliment you can get from your opponent.

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