Newcastle vs Arsenal: Arsene Wenger insists Olivier Giroud is the Premier League's best striker

It was the contribution of the Frenchman on Saturday that drew special praise from the Arsenal manager

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The Independent Football

Of the last 14 games Olivier Giroud has played, Arsenal have won 12. Giroud has scored 11 goals in that run, including the two he scored on Saturday in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United. They were the eighth he has put past them in the six games he has played against them.

The two that undid a surprisingly brave Newcastle were both from set-pieces, the first from a free-kick and the second from a corner, both taken by Santi Cazorla. Arsenal have scored 18 goals from set pieces this season, more than any team in the Premier League and Cazorla has more assists, 27, than any player in the country since he moved here for £15 million.

Arsenal have previously not been a team overly concerned by statistics. But those mentioned suggest to Arsène Wenger, whose side fended off a second-half Newcastle fightback after Moussa Sissoko’s goal, that Giroud is the “best in the Premier League”.

 

It was the contribution of the Frenchman on Saturday that drew special praise from the Arsenal manager.

Giroud was 26 when he moved to the Emirates for the best part of £10million. He is starting to use his size and is just three goals shy of his highest league tally in England.

“Is he one of the best in the Premier League now? I think so,” said Wenger. “He is scoring the goals to prove it, he is a fighter as well and I believe he is a team player. He is always fighting for the team even when not scoring.

“Of course it helps when you have the quality of players he has around him. When you are a striker you are fed by the people around you and the quality of balls he gets is very good. At 22 and 23 he played in division 3 in France and today he is at Arsenal. I believe there is still room for improvement.”

Giroud’s goals have taken Arsenal to the edge of the fight for the Premier League title. That feels like a surprise and it also feels too early for this team but Aaron Ramsey reflected the growing confidence when he said: “We just have to keep going the way we are and try and win every game from now until the end of the season and see where that takes us.

“In the Premier League upsets happen. We just have to focus on ourselves and believe other teams around us will be on the end of upsets.

“In this division teams can lose against anyone. Manchester City went to Burnley and lost. Things like that happen. We have just got to  be switched on and make  sure it doesn’t happen to us and maintain this run we  are on.”

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