Arsene Wenger says Olivier Giroud has overcome the three main factors which stood in the way of an immediate impact at the Emirates and insisted the French striker now has nothing stopping him from going from strength to strength.
With five goals in his last five games, the Handsome French Bloke prepares for Wednesday’s clash with former club Montpellier in tip-top form and with the full backing of an impressed boss.
Speaking to press ahead of the Gunners penultimate Champions League group stage game, Wenger underlined the distance his compatriot had come since swapping Ligue 1 for the Premier League:
“There were many factors affecting Olivier at the start. The first one, I believe physically he worked very hard when he arrived here. The intensity of the games took a lot out of him. The second problem was a bit understanding with your partners. The third problem was level of confidence.
“When you come to a club like Arsenal, you are surrounded by big names,” continued the boss.
“It takes you a while to think; ‘OK I belong to this world’. He has shown that on that level he has gained a lot.
“Now there is no limit to how far he can go. He is a left-footed player with a strong body who is good in the air, he works very hard for the team, but as well he can be good at link play.
“What I like, he has a good attitude and a good team spirit. He is ready to put his body on the line for the team. Once you have that and his qualities, you wouldn’t fix any limit for any player.”
The boss also reserved praise for Per Mertesacker, perhaps because the BFG was sitting next to him in the press conference, defending the centre-back from criticism arrowed in his direction following his performances last year.
“To his defence I must say last year he arrived on August 31, and had no pre-season, had an ankle injury and had to adapt to a completely new world,” said Wenger.
“Centre back is difficult for people who come from abroad, it was a bit of a shock for him, but this season he has come back very fit, well prepared, and of course knew what the expectations were for him and did extremely well.
“This season especially, as you [the media] have noticed, he has been outstanding.
“The criticism was always completely unjust. It was overboard, we always say you have to deal with that.
“There is only one thing you can do as a football player at the top level, and that is to turn the critics down with your performances, and that is what he did.
“For the rest, you have to let people say what they want and show on the pitch they are wrong, that is all you can do.”
A couple of in-form big lads scoring headers for fun? Arseblog News isn’t going to complain, but if we see Arsene sporting a cap and hear rumours of him giving naked post-game team talks in the shower we’ll start getting nervous.