Olivier Giroud scored his first ever hat-trick for Arsenal against Olympiakos and the French striker is understandably basking in the glory this week. Wenger admitted that Ollie is very very good at what he does in certain situations. “If you go on counter-attack of course he is not the kind of player that you want or select first,” Wenger said. “That is why when we played against Bayern, I chose [Theo] Walcott because you know you play more in your own half and you have to go out quickly.
“But when you dominate the game and need presence in the box there is no better player than Olivier. He gives everything in every session, he is not a guy who plays within himself, but he has a good stamina, good power. When you stand next to him as a defender, it is difficult to get in front of him because he is very strong.
“I believe as well because he is not an electric type of player, he gets less spectacular actions and less credit as well [because of that]. You see a guy who is electric and you say ‘that is fantastic’. But the kind of header he scored for the first goal [at Olympiacos], you do not get so much credit.
“Olivier wants to work more,” he continued. “You need to show that you don’t lose your confidence, but he’s ready to put a shift in and to work harder. I like the career of a guy who has come down and comes up again.
“That shows you that he has mental strength. Life was not easy for him in sport because he was in small clubs and came up and plays at Arsenal. That means he has the mental strength. Mental selection is the most difficult when you go down and then come up again and he has that strength.”
Giroud has made it hard for Walcott to displace him since the Englishman returned from injury, but from those statements I would expect Theo to start against Man City. But Wenger also admitted that, despite his brilliant performance against Olympiakos, there is one other thing that worries him about him Giroud. “For him it was a perfect night and on top of that, he scored a very important penalty, because that killed the game.” Le prof said.
“My main concern is that he shows that he has the quality and the consistency [now]. Olivier had periods, I think especially at the end of last season, where he couldn’t score. Then he lost his confidence a little bit.
“This season, he didn’t start. He benefits from two things now. First, he had a rest for a good period of the season. Secondly, when Olivier is confronted with difficult moments, he responds in a very positive way. He worked even harder and I think that made him stronger.”
I for one am very pleased that Giroud has forced his way back into the team. He just seems to pop up with a goal during every game now, but I also think that it was important that he got his first-ever hat-trick. The last one may have only been a penalty but he has at last got over that mental block that made him nervous after his second goal. Hopefully he’ll start getting them on a regular basis now? Starting tomorrow at Villa perhaps……