Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Giroud a different player now, says Wenger

16 February 2015, 08:17

London - Arsene Wenger believes Olivier Giroud has transformed as a player during his time at Arsenal, as the French striker scored twice at the Emirates to beat Middlesbrough 2-0 and send the FA Cup holders into the quarter-finals.

Giroud hit two goals in two minutes just before the half-hour, with Wenger especially pleased with the manner of the goals.

The first, after 27 minutes, came at the end of a flowing move than involved every player in the Arsenal starting XI. The second, on 29 minutes, involved a piece of quick thinking as Giroud reacted first to Alexis Sanchez's rapidly taken corner.

Wenger believes the finishing, at the least, is the product of the evolution Giroud has undergone since arriving at the Emirates in 2012.

"I believe Giroud is a different player from the guy who arrived here," Wenger said.

"He understands what top-level football demands, works with great concentration in training, improved on his mobility, technical quality. Of course his body is very strong and he uses it very well."

Wenger was also hugely enthused with how the different characteristics of both goals showed alternate qualities of his side.

"The first goal is what we tried to do in our build-up," Wenger said.

"The second goal shows the game belongs to the players as well. It's a consequence of two players who respond quickly to a situation and analysing quickly what they want to do well. That's basically what it was, a consequence of intelligence and technique."

The other main positive for Arsenal, from what was a very easy win, was the performance of new signing Gabriel Paulista.

The defender prevented one Middlesbrough attack with a hugely industrial foul, but was generally composed.

"It was interesting to observe Gabriel today," said Wenger.

Also read: Gabriel failing English test, but set for Arsenal debut

"His first game in a cup game which we had absolutely to win, he showed important qualities, great concentration, great urgency to defend, good pace, especially on the recovery tackle he made in the box.

"He played a little bit with the handbrake because he didn't want to make a mistake.

"From what I've seen, there's a lot to come."

 Eager Sanchez

Wenger believes the strong team he picked indicates his desire to defend the FA Cup, as he revealed Alexis Sanchez was again eager to play, despite expectation he might be rested.

"Alexis became strong as the game went on. I took a gamble, and took him off with 20 minutes to play.

"He always wants to play. Everybody is like that, but he is bit more like that. He didn't miss too many games.

"What was important for him was to get through without injury."

Aitor Karanka meanwhile said he "didn't like anything" about Middlesbrough's first-half performance, as his side -- who have rightfully received much praise this season, not least for the defeat of Manchester City in the fourth round -- were simply brushed away.

The Spaniard said that earlier victory might have made his players think the game would be "easier" and that they were far from the "perfect" level shown at the Etihad.

"If you want to take something from games against Arsenal today, you have to be perfect, like at Etihad Stadium and you have to take advantage of your chances. If you make mistakes, it's difficult.

"I don't know if it's frustration. A little bit disappointed because everybody was expecting a game like against Liverpool or Man City. This is my biggest concern. We didn't go to the pitch in the way we usually go.

"The second half was better, but the first half I didn't like anything."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
George Vodongo
China to help Kenya fight high le...

China observed that if left unchecked, corruption could see the country degenerate into lawlessness. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Signs that he is seeing someone e...

When a man wants to be with you, he will always create time to be with you. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Spat between DP Ruto and Boniface...

A close associate of the DP, Hon Njogu Barua made an alarming comment on live TV Tuesday morning. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Matatu driver who drugged, robbed...

The driver of a Nissan matatu who over the weekend drugged and robbed a female passenger in Nairobi has been charged. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Heavy police contingent deployed ...

More police officers were on Monday deployed at Likoni in Mombasa County in a security operation to nab members of the ‘Wakali Kwanza’ and ‘Mtalia’ criminal gangs who have been terrorizing locals in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Man released on Presidential amne...

He was caught taking money from a church offering bag at Ol Jabet Independent Pentecostal Church in Laikipia West on October 23. Read more...