Arsene Wenger hails impact of Olivier Giroud at Arsenal

Striker adds 'another dimension' to the Gunners

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is in no doubt that Olivier Giroud brings “another dimension” to his side's attacking options. 

The Gunners head to Fulham tomorrow looking to jump back up into third place in the Barclays Premier League, with fellow Champions League contenders Chelsea and Tottenham not in action until Sunday.

But for some more clinical finishing from Giroud, Arsenal could have seen off Everton's resolute challenge in what was a bruising goalless encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

Wenger, however, feels the France striker, 26, will only improve as he learns quickly from a first season in the English top flight after a £13million summer move from Montpellier, where his goals had speared them to a first Ligue 1 title.

"Giroud gave a lot until now and for his first season he is doing extremely well because he has a fantastic attitude, he is a positive mind," said Wenger, who reluctantly agreed to sell captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United during the summer which severely depleted Arsenal's frontline.

"He is a little bit less (like) the strikers we used to have until now, but he gives us another dimension with the physical challenges in the air.

"Olivier has good physical potential, has a good basic stamina and he can absorb the games.

"He can absorb the body to body (challenges) because he's a strong guy.

"He wants to do well, but is not the one who hides afterwards. He stands up for what he has done and I feel he deals quite well with that.

"Giroud has scored 17 goals in all competitions, 11 in the championship, for a first season that is quite good.

"I think you will see more from him next season, and there is a lot more to come from him."

Attacking midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was again impressive when introduced from the bench on Tuesday night, having helped turn the game against Norwich around last weekend when used as an impact player.

The 19-year-old has certainly come a long way since being signed as a raw talent in a £15million move from Southampton in the summer of 2011, going on to win a place in Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad.

Wenger feels Oxlade-Chamberlain has made great strides.

"Alex has made huge improvements. He is a very young boy at that level, but what he is doing already is fantastic and he has a part to play in our run-in," Wenger said.

"He has moved forward a lot this season.

"Since January, he has grown up a lot and you see there is more purpose in his game.

"You see it now when he comes on, he has a different stature and he wants to really take responsibility when he comes on which was not always the case.

"The final ball is much better and his concentration is at a higher level.

"That is what you learn when you go from a young talented boy to a real performing player."

Arsenal will be out to record what would be a ninth win in the last 12 league games at Fulham, who were well beaten 3-0 by Chelsea in midweek.

Wenger expects his team to return the same concentration levels they have over the past six weeks which have seen them re-ignite their European ambitions after what looked a fatal blow when losing at Tottenham on March 3.

"We bounced back from a very, very difficult position but we still have a lot of work to do," said Wenger, who revealed goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was set for a spell on the sidelines with a cracked rib, so fellow Pole Wojciech Szczesny will get the chance to reclaim the number one jersey again.

"We just want to keep that strong run going until the end of the campaign.

"After the Tottenham game, we had no room to drop points and that is where we are.

"We know for us it is what is needed to be successful."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003