Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Wenger hails Giroud impact

Olivier Giroud, pictured, has been tipped by Arsene Wenger to have a big Arsenal future

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 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 a goalless encounter 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. Wenger said: "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."

He added: "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."

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."

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