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Giroud leaves Wenger purring

24 Nov 2012 09:37:00

Giroud leaves Wenger purring

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels France international Olivier Giroud has now settled into his new role as a typical English centre-forward. The 26-year-old took a while to adapt following his £12million summer move from Montpellier, where his 21 goals helped fire them to the Ligue 1 championship for the first time. Giroud has netted five in his last six games, but more importantly provides a focal point for the Gunners attack, and against his old club he helped set up Lukas Podolski to score in their midweek Champions League tie. "Giroud convinces you about something more than just his game, it is overall attitude, he is genuine, a fighter and is ready to have a go," said Wenger, who takes his side to Aston Villa for tomorrow's late kick-off. "That is why he is accepted, not just because of his game, but he is really genuinely committed on the pitch. "I believe he has the characteristics of a centre-forward I like in England - complete commitment, capability to win balls in the air and fighting attitude." Giroud has certainly proved an aerial threat - his bullet header against Fulham three weeks ago was testament to that. Wenger continued: "Maybe he is one of the best headers [Arsenal have ever had]. "We have adapted to his strengths - when you cross the ball, you still think you have a chance to win the header whereas before it was a chance of a counter-attack." Wenger was not worried by Giroud's goal drought, which was finally ended with a strike against Coventry in the Capital One Cup in his seventh Arsenal game. "You tell them it is not important, but they know it's important to score so you don't try to make them feel guilty - but they still do. You can't change that," the Arsenal manager said. "According to our studies, it comes in cycles. When some guys don't score for three, four or maybe five games they become nervous. If it's more than five they will be questioned and they know that as well. "People say: 'okay, he works hard, but when does he score a goal?' When they start to score it becomes completely natural for them." Villa have struggled for consistency of late, their 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City last weekend seeing Paul Lambert's side drop into the bottom three. In Belgian forward Christian Benteke, however, Villa also have a striker who is improving quickly following his move into the English game, having signed from Genk for £7million on transfer deadline day. "Benteke has scored some impressive goals and has complete power," said Wenger, who revealed the Congo-born Belgian was once on his scouting radar. "We have looked at him yes. It was interesting. I was surprised when he signed at Villa, but we had already bought Giroud. "Benteke is another a typical English centre-forward who has disappeared a little bit as well."


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