Arsenal vs QPR: Olivier Giroud 'deserved' his red card as Arsene Wenger admits striker has learnt his lesson after head-butt shame

Giroud was dismissed with a straight red card after thrusting his head into Nedum Onouha when Arsenal were leading 1-0

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The Independent Online

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident Olivier Giroud will learn from his reckless red card in the 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over QPR, which will rule the France striker out of the rest of the hectic Christmas schedule.

The Gunners were in cruise control at the Emirates Stadium following Alexis Sanchez's 10th league goal on 37 minutes, the Chilean having seen a tame early penalty saved.

However, a rush of blood from Giroud at the start of the second half reduced Arsenal to 10 men. The forward charged into Nedum Onuoha, the defender hitting the ground right in front of the referee.

Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky, making a first start of the season, swept in a second on the break to give Arsenal some breathing space, before Charlie Austin set up a tense finale when he converted a penalty with 11 minutes left.

 

Unlike at Liverpool last weekend, Arsenal held on under late pressure to move within two points of Southampton and one behind fifth-placed West Ham - Sunday's opponents at Upton Park.

Wenger, who gave Giroud an icy glare as he stalked off the pitch, accepts the red card from referee Martin Atkinson was "deserved", with his team now set to pay the penalty of the frontman's mandatory three-match suspension for violent conduct.

"Olivier Giroud knows he made a mistake and I know him well enough to think that he will not do it again," said Wenger, who confirmed the player had apologised for the incident.

"Madness is a strong word - he didn't kill him, but he touched him and should not have done it. He should have been in control."

Giroud will miss now the Premier League games at West Ham and Southampton, as well as the FA Cup tie against Hull on January 4.

"Honestly, you never need that. In my job you sometimes have to deal with the strengths and sometimes the mistakes of people," said Wenger, who was able to celebrate his 400th Premier League victory despite some late pressure.

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Olivier Giroud head-butts Nedum Onouha

QPR, meanwhile, have now lost all nine of their away league games, but remain clear of the relegation zone ahead of Sunday's visit of Crystal Palace.

Manager Harry Redknapp felt his side should have been awarded a "blatant penalty" themselves following what he saw as a foul by Kieran Gibbs on Bobby Zamora during a late rally.

"It wasn't until we got back to 2-1 that we suddenly started to take the game to them," he said.

"I felt we weren't positive enough at 1-0 against 10 men. For them to score was the worst possible thing. To go two down was a massive blow.

"You have to come away with something. This was a good opportunity against 10 men to pick up a point here.

"We have got two home games now (against Palace and Swansea) and we have to pick up some points in those."

PA

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