Arsene Wenger tries to ease pressure on Arsenal striker Oliver Giroud
Sunday 16 September 2012
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is delighted by the way summer signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski are settling in, but knows the pressure is beginning to mount on fellow new boy Oliver Giroud.
The trio were the Gunners' big-name additions in a summer that saw talisman Robin van Persie and midfield stalwart Alex Song leave for pastures new.
But while Cazorla and Podolski have taken to life in the Premier League like a proverbial duck to water since, Giroud has not enjoyed the same success.
The France international has yet to find the net since joining from Montpellier and was named among the substitutes for yesterday's 6-1 mauling of Southampton, against whom he failed to make an impact when he came on.
"I felt that he is under much pressure at the moment and sometimes to get a little breather is good," Wenger said of his countryman.
"What I will do on Tuesday [when Arsenal travel to Montpellier in the Champions League] I honestly don't know.
"I just felt that the time has come for him to not be under too much pressure."
It is fair to say Cazorla has not endured the same difficulties since moving to north London, attracting plaudits aplenty in his short time in English football.
"Cazorla is a player who is just a pleasure to watch," Wenger said. "You want him to have the ball.
"I think he typifies what the midfielders in Spain are today - technically perfect, great vision and a great team attitude.
"We did fight with Malaga at the time [to get him last summer from Villarreal] and they were in Spain, they were quick to do the deal.
"But we remained on the ball, we were quite advanced with him last season already."
Podolski, too, has enjoyed his start to life with Arsenal as he followed up his goal at Liverpool with an excellent 25-yard free-kick against Southampton.
"First of all, Lukas has 101 caps for Germany," Wenger said.
"Once, in our job, you get the ball every time at the right moment, when you want it and with the right quality of the pass, it is easier to adapt.
"So when a team plays as well as it did, the adaptation is easy.
"When you have to fight, and then you are exposed to the real English game, it is much more difficult.
"He is physically strong and he is a fantastic finisher.
"I had a little hesitation yesterday to play him at centre forward because I had played him only once there.
"He gives us a balance on the left and I didn't want to destroy that because he did well at Liverpool."
The victory leaves the Gunners third in the Premier League standings and opponents Saints rooted to the bottom.
There have been 19 goals in the promoted side's first four games back in the top flight, including Danny Fox's first-half consolation at the Emirates yesterday.
For all that excitement, however, Saints have yet to pick up a point and the Scotland left-back knows improvements are needed, starting against Aston Villa next weekend.
"We need to show more character and believe that we can play at this level because we are good enough to be here," Fox told Saints Player.
"I think if you look at the squad - Gaston [Ramirez] came on and looked the part and he's only going to get better once he starts to learn English.
"Ads (Adam Lallana) is full of confidence at the minute after being called up to the England squad, Steven Davis is Northern Ireland captain, so the squad speaks for itself.
"The ability is there so I think we just need to be a bit more ruthless.
"We'll work on the training ground this week and the gaffer is always positive, so we'll take the positives from this game and go into the Villa match knowing that we have to win."
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