Arsene Wenger has called for Olivier Giroud to get the credit he deserves after the striker fired Arsenal to the top of the Premier League.
The France international’s penalty and Aaron Ramsey’s breakaway goal gave the Gunners a comfortable 2-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday.
They moved a point clear at the top, although Leicester City will replace them if they beat Chelsea at the King Power Stadium on Monday night.
Giroud scored a hat-trick in Wednesday’s 3-0 Champions League win at Olympiacos and netted his 50th league goal for the Gunners – and 14th of the season – at Villa Park, but Wenger reckons the 29-year-old can be under-appreciated.
He said: “I believe he is at the top of his game. He is questioned sometimes, but finally the numbers get people to realise he is a good player.
“Olivier has improved technically. His link play is better and when you have the option to go for long balls he is always an interesting option.
“He’s not got electric pace, he is more a player who likes to play with his back to goal. He is not spectacular individually, but he is a very efficient player for the team. Mentally he is very strong.”
Wenger glad of recovery time
Arsenal face second placed Manchester City next Monday with the chance to be top at Christmas. Wenger is grateful for the long break to prepare for the game against a title rival.
He said: “Let’s see tomorrow, if Leicester beat Chelsea they have a very good chance to be top at Christmas.
“It’s a big game, we want to win at home and beat City at home. We have eight days to prepare. It will be an interesting one but we at least can recover first and prepare then.
“I was a bit anxious today because we had given a lot on Wednesday and came back very late on Thursday morning. I knew Villa were fighting to survive.”
Alexis Sanchez is still missing with a hamstring injury, but Wenger refused to completely rule him out of the game against City.
“I think the closest to have the chance is Sanchez, but medically we think he won’t be ready…but Sanchez being Sanchez you never know,” he added.