Olivier Giroud netted the game winner for Arsenal in their opening day game against Leicester City and Arsene Wenger is thankful the player opted not to leave the club this summer.
It’s Giroud’s fifth season in England. Throughout this time the striker remained integral to Arsene Wenger’s team plans, as well as developing an impressive international career. Despite this, Giroud, similar to fellow Frenchman Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, never fully enjoyed the backing of his team’s fans.
Giroud once again showed just what he is worth to Arsenal by scoring the winner, on the opening day of the Premier League, against Leicester City. It could have easily gone a different route, with Leicester leading the Gunners twice through goals by Jamie Vardy. It all worked out in the end and Arsene Wenger finally looks to have the squad depth he missed last season (at least in terms of attacking players).
“I love the man and the player. He is a fantastic guy as well – committed, he loves the club,” Wenger unabashedly shared his love for the French striker. “He doesn’t want to leave and I’m happy that he wants to stay. But at some stage I opened the door for him because I knew that I had many strikers. He is really loved here, we love him and, in the end, he decided to stay.”
This summer Arsenal finally got the big-time transfer fans were pleading for. Ligue 1’s top goalscorer Alexandre Lacazette joined the team and it looked to be a move that would force Giroud out of the squad. It was rumoured the player was considering offers, with some claiming a return to Ligue 1 were imminent. While it’s true that Giroud did come on as a substitute yesterday, his performance and the manager’s critique of his abilities should most likely settle matters regarding a transfer.
It will certainly not be an easy season for Arsenal, a team looking to prove itself after last campaign’s fifth place finish. Wenger was critical of the team’s defense against Leicester and focused on Rob Holding’s performance. “The first goal is on a short corner, we were not focused enough. On the second goal we lost the ball in the build-up and were punished.There were some mistakes and I think we lacked a bit of experience.”
However, as things stand, Wenger still believes the team is in a better state defensively than they were at the of last season, although frankly the standard there is not exactly tremedously high.
“Holding will be a great central defender but tonight after one or two mistakes he lost a bit of confidence and you could feel that. Insecurity goes quickly through a team and we had many experienced defenders out tonight – Koscielny, Mustafi, Mertesacker. Overall we looked better defensively at the end of the [2016-17] season,” Arsenal’s manager told reporters.