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Wenger praises strike duo

Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud are ready to lead Arsenal to another top-four Premier League finish, according to Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal boss Wenger backed his stuttering strikers to end recent woes in front of goal and drive the Gunners' form after securing a 2-1 victory at QPR.

Chile hitman Sanchez bagged his first goal in eight games while Giroud eased lingering frustrations from a sloppy display in the 3-1 Champions League defeat to Monaco.

"When you don't score for seven or eight games it is on your mind even if you say it's not," said Wenger of Sanchez's neat finish in Arsenal's Loftus Road victory.

"But he took his chance well and he's tricky and has a short back-lift and scored a good goal.

"He never gives up and that's the strength of a good striker as well.

"He's resilient and he showed that he has the mental strength to respond.

"Olivier (Giroud) has that mental strength as well, he's strong mentally too.

"He can take criticism and respond, and he's shown that.

"I feel that was a bit harsh on him because he missed some chances but that can happen.

"We were all down after the Monaco game, but we responded well against Everton, and the confidence we got against Everton paid off tonight."

Wenger confirmed Spanish defender Gabriel Paulista came off in the first-half with hamstring trouble, while Arsenal held on to third spot in the Premier League table.

Wenger admitted Arsenal were "nervous" in a goalless first-half.

Charlie Austin fired a late goal for the hosts, but the Gunners were able to hold out for their 10th victory in 12 games.

"It's hot up there, yes, because everybody won tonight," said Wenger.

"We can only focus on our performances and keep going.

"We have 10 games to go - six at home, four away - so we can only keep going.

"We were nervous in the first-half I felt, and they competed physically."

Head coach Chris Ramsey admitted it is "imperative" QPR keep pace with their relegation rivals, after losing ground on Aston Villa across the midweek fixtures.

Rangers host Tottenham at Loftus Road on Saturday, with boss Ramsey admitting his side can ill afford a fourth consecutive league home loss.

"The last thing we want to do is start getting detached," said Ramsey.

"So it's imperative that doesn't happen.

"Everything is in cup-final mode now."