Praise for ‘target man’ Giroud + international round-up

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Olivier Giroud has been hailed as ‘world class’ by former Montpellier teammate Younes Belhanda.

The duo were instrumental in La Paillade’s Ligue 1 title triumph in 2012 and the Morocco international, who was linked with a move to the Emirates around the same time Wenger signed Giroud, says he’s been impressed by the striker’s subsequent career progression.

“For me, Olivier is one of the best forwards in his role,’ Belhanda told RMC Sport [translated by Goal.com].

“He’s someone who keeps the ball up really well, who knows how to make his number 10 or his wingers play because he has a target man game few strikers have.

“There isn’t a striker in the world who’s better than him as a target man. Especially with the France team, he scores, so you can’t hold anything against him.

“At club level, he doesn’t play that much, but when you have a player in the national team who scores and helps the team win, you can’t say anything.”

Giroud decided to stay at Arsenal this summer despite the increased competition for places in attack after the arrival of compatriot Alexandre Lacazette. Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps will choose between the two when his side continue their World Cup qualification campaign away at Bulgaria this evening.

Several other Gunners have been in Interlull action in the last couple of days. Alexis scored a late winner for Chile as they kept their hopes of reaching the World Cup in Russia alive with a 2-1 win over Ecaudor. La Roja are now third in the CONMEBOL table but still have work to do in an incredibly tight group.

Colombia are clinging to their hopes of automatic qualification but they weren’t helped by two mistakes by David Ospina in a 2-1 defeat to Paraguay.

Elsewhere, Nacho Monreal was an unused sub as Spain beat Albania to seal safe passage to next summer’s showpiece tournament and Aaron Ramsey helped Wales to a 1-0 victory in Georgia.

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