It has been said that our Fench striker Olivier Giroud has lacked a bit of confidence in some games, and we all have vivid memories of the Arsenal hitman missing a hat-trick of easy chances against Monaco last season, but he made up for it n spades last night as he finally scored his very first hat-trick for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger described his game as “perfect”. Le Prof said after the game: “It was a perfect performance because he scored a header, one with a good combination thanks to a good pass by Campbell, and also a penalty on top of that. He was sometimes in uncomfortable positions but he fought like mad and he has shown skill and character. I always defended Olivier on the character side because he has always had something special on that front. He showed that in the game again today.”
He certainly did! Olivier himself said that he felt confident ahead of the game, and gave his version of events. “It is fantastic for me.” he said. “We are happy with this result tonight. We missed the chance two or three years ago and also this year in Monaco so it is nice to go thorough the group stage as we were not in a good position. Finally we have done it for the fans and I feel very nice.
“To be honest, I just tried to play well and I have confidence so it was an opportunity for myself tonight. It was a nice feeling to score a hat-trick, even more because it was an important one. The first goal was a good ball from Aaron. Sometimes I like to step back from the box. The second one was a good assist from Joel and he did really well. The last one was a penalty so we are really pleased to win tonight and go through to the next stage. We will focus on the Champions League and we are going to focus on the Premier League.
“It is a great feeling because it was not easy for us in this group. Because of the first games we were not in an easy position and we have shown tonight our strength. Finally, we need to carry on being efficient at the back, we feel really good tonight because we have qualified for the next round.”
Giroud has scored lots of important goals for the club, but he was asked if he thought that this was his best ever. “Maybe, because I scored three goals.” he replied. “I worked hard for the team and I had the feeling before the game that I would have the chance to score. We have succeeded to complete another clean sheet and it is good for the confidence for the weekend.
“We feel really pleased tonight, we had a celebration all together after the game. It has been a few years and we miss it. We really wanted to focus on the group stages so we bounced back and we have great team spirit and confidence.”
Giroud was the focus for the goals he scored, but it was a brilliant confident performance from the whole team, made even more awesome by the fact that we were missing Coquelin, Cazorla and Alexis through injury. Giroud was happy as it shows that maybe this year we do have some real depth to the squad. “I think we missed a lot of players but this year [with] the new squad and [in] the years before, there has been quality.” he concluded. “It [was] a good opportunity. We defended well and we played well. We tried to play our game in between the lines and we created chances to score, so we are pleased tonight as it was not so easy and we were in a difficult position.”
If anything we are probably in a better position in the Premier League, and hopefully we can stop the celebrations quickly and emulate this performance on Sunday away at Aston Villa. Another smooth win then and we will be top of the League at the end of the weekend, and maybe even Chelsea will do us a favour on Monday by beating Leicester…..