Search

Wenger hails Giroud’s ‘strength of character’ after brace against Black Cats

PUBLISHED: 19:40 22 February 2014 | UPDATED: 20:27 22 February 2014

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (left) celebrates one of his goal with team mate Santi Cazorla (right). Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (left) celebrates one of his goal with team mate Santi Cazorla (right). Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

PA Wire

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the mental strength of Olivier Giroud after the France striker marked his return to the side with a brace to help beat Sunderland 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Giroud had been left on the bench for the last two matches following a dip in form and some unwanted headlines about his private life.

However, the 6ft 4ins frontman delivered the perfect response with a first-half double as Arsenal put the midweek Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich behind them.

Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky converted a well-worked third ahead of the interval, before defender Laurent Koscielny headed in from a corner just before the hour.

Sunderland - who take on Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley next weekend - grabbed a consolation through a 25-yard drive from substitute Emanuele Giaccherini, but remain deep in relegation trouble.

Giroud opened the scoring on five minutes, before then capitalising on a poor backpass by Santiago Vergini to effectively kill off the match as a contest inside 31 minutes.

“I had no hesitation about his strength of character. Of course you want him to come back into the team and be successful, which he was today because he scored two goals,” said Wenger.

“One great one at the end of great movement and the other a little bit of a gift from Sunderland, he got an assist as well so he did well.”

Arsenal had earlier unveiled a bronze statue of former striker Dennis Bergkamp, who helped the club win seven major trophies, including the ‘Invincibles’ Premier League campaign of 2003/04.

Wenger felt the Dutch forward, who received a hero’s welcome on the pitch at half-time, would have appreciated the team’s efforts.

“We had a very demanding week physically and mentally and we gave the right response today. We did the job in the first half and I think we scored two great ‘Arsenal’ goals,” said Wenger.

“I am very pleased for Rosicky because today Bergkamp got a statue and I think Rosicky took the Bergkamp role well today. Certainly Dennis will have been pleased to have seen him play.”

Bergkamp, who is coaching at Ajax, suggested he would like to return to Arsenal in the future.

Wenger said: “I am not against it one day. He has the qualities, but you need to have the need as well because we have a big staff already.

“He is now at two clubs that made Dennis Bergkamp. The first, and certainly the most important one, is Ajax.

“He is at Ajax now and a coach there. The second club that is important in his life is Arsenal. Maybe that will be the next step.”

Wenger left out club-record signing Mesut Ozil, who had missed an early penalty against Bayern, because of a thigh problem.

“It was a kick. He should also be available next week. He is in the dressing room at the moment,” Wenger said.

The Gunners boss also hopes both defenders Koscielny (back) and Nacho Monreal (foot) will recover from their knocks to be fit to face Stoke.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Tomorrow, 15:00

Lawn Tennis Association launch new big-money initiative to transform the game locally

15:29

Saracens Vicky Fleetwood and Emily Scott have been named in a 28-strong England squad for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Dublin in August.

12:30

Openers put defending champions on back foot

09:00

Itoje impressed off the bench during first Test loss

Openers Cook and Browne share record stand

The NR F1 Podcast takes to the airwaves to bring you its 2017 Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix review.

Yesterday, 17:30

West Hampstead native has a wildcard for women’s doubles, but lost in singles qualifying

Comments have been disabled on this article.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Often one of the most daunting parts of going through a divorce or separation is knowing what steps to take first and how to deal with financial issues which arise. Here, Jessica Palmer of Streathers Solicitors in Hampstead, offers answers to commonly asked questions

Breaking news

35 minutes ago

A man has died after falling from the Archway Bridge this afternoon.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now