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Premier League

Hull City v Arsenal: 'Olivier Giroud is like Mesut Ozil, he has gone through a difficult period but he is a positive guy,' claims Arsene Wenger

The Gunners visit Hull City in the Premier League on Sunday

Arsenal go to Hull City on Sunday hoping to briefly move four points clear of Everton in the race for fourth place. After Everton’s surprising defeat to Crystal Palace on Wednesday Arsenal are now favourites, and there is a renewed feeling of optimism after their own 3-1 victory over West Ham United.

Olivier Giroud scored a brilliant goal that night and Arsene Wenger hopes that will inspire him over the final weeks of the season. “The quality of the goal gives him confidence again, gives him credibility again for people who questioned his ability,” Wenger said, “so that is important.”

Giroud suffered a dip in form recently, playing 12 games in February and March but scoring just five goals. Wenger said that was down to tiredness as well as the well-publicised issues in his private life.

“He has gone, like Ozil, through a more difficult period recently,” Wenger said. “It was a bit physical and mental as well with what happened to him. He is a strong lad, strong mentality, strong positive guy. He has a great mentality that’s what I think got him back. He has scored 20 goals that is a great record and he is working very hard for the team.”

Wenger admitted that Giroud “played maybe too many games” earlier in the season. “Maybe we should have rested him a bit earlier and given him a breather.” Yaya Sanogo has started to share the burden recently but Giroud should be fully-fit for the run-in.


Arsenal were criticised for not signing a striker to compete with Giroud but Wenger said there is a difficult balance to be struck, and he would not want to undermine Giroud. “It’s difficult for a striker because you need confidence,” Wenger explained. “You need to be challenged but not too much because if you know the first mistake you make you are out then you are not good. If you know you do not score for one game then another player comes in, you are not confident enough. It’s difficult to find the right balance. If you look across Europe all the big teams they play basically with the same striker.”