Arsene Wenger was clearly delighted with his Arsenal team last night and he had every reason to be as, to a man, the Gunners stepped up and put in a real shift to claim a first away win over Olympiacos and pip the Greek champions into second spot in the Champions League group.
Wenger hailed the performance as a real team effort, which it certainly was, but he also had some extra words of praise of the hat-trick hero Olivier Giroud. The France international striker probably felt that he owed his manager as well, after getting sent off away to Dinamo Zagreb in the first group game and helping to get Arsenal into the tough position we were in.
But Wenger was in no mood to give his centre forward anything but praise in the post match interview reported on the Arsenal website. The boss used words like perfect to describe Giroud’s game and was full of praise for the character and fight he showed as well as the finishing that bagged the big man his first ever hat-trick in an Arsenal shirt. Wenger also revealed that Giroud was set to take the penalty even before he had scored the first two.
Le Prof said, “He was on the list to be No 1. Number two was Walcott and No 3 was Ramsey, so we respected the order. It is maybe easier to take a penalty when you have already scored, but he took it well. He practised in training and it showed.
“It was a perfect performance because he scored a header, one with a good combination thanks to a good pass by Campbell, and also a penalty on top of that. He was sometimes in uncomfortable positions but he fought like mad and he has shown skill and character. I always defended Olivier on the character side because he has always had something special on that front. He showed that in the game again today.”
Now will Giroud push on from this perfect performance and score the goals to keep Arsenal on target for the Premier League title?