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Arsenal boss gives his verdict on Walcott, Arshavin and Giroud

Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin celebrates his goal against Coventry City. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin celebrates his goal against Coventry City. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

Thursday, September 27, 2012
7:01 AM

Frenchman delighted with goalscoring display to set up Capital One Cup fourth-round trip to Reading

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Arsene Wenger admitted that he was a relieved man to see French striker Olivier Giroud break his scoring duck at the Emirates - but not as much as the player himself.

Giroud had missed a number of presentable chances in the opening month of the season since his summer move from Montpellier, but a start against League One Coventry in the Capital One Cap seemed a perfect chance to open his Gunners’ account.

So it proved as Giroud scored the opening goal, and although the Frenchman also had a penalty saved by Coventry keeper Joe Murphy, the fact he had found the net already was clearly a weight off his mind.

“It was in everybody’s mind that he needed to get it [his first goal] and especially it was in his mind,” said Wenger after watching his side romp to a 6-1 third-round victory which set up a visit to Reading in round four.

“He is a good finisher, Olivier. At the moment he is looking for confidence again and that goal will be good for him.

“I think we did our job tonight - in the first half we were tested defensively but in the second half our offensive potential made the difference when they tired. The difference in quality made a big impact in the result in the end.”

Theo Walcott’s double strike inevitably drew questions about the England man’s ongoing contract stand-off, and the fact that the player has suggested he wants to play in a central striker role.

“I’m not against Theo playing up front at all,” said Wenger. “At the moment we have big competition up front. His time will come for that, and at the moment we have to be a bit patient.

“I want him to stay. We are all professional. I always said let’s hope we can sign and extend. I speak to him, we are in touch with his agent and you give us some time to sort it out.”

Wenger also lavished praise on Andrey Arshavin, who scored the third goal and set up the fifth for Ignasi Miquel, having flourished playing in the hole behind the lone striker Giroud.

That is a position which the Russian has long craved to occupy and Wenger admitted: “His best position looks to be behind the striker now, that’s where his vision, his creative side can be efficient. When he has to work on the flank it works against him.”

Arsenal will travel to the Madejski Stadium in round four in the week beginning October 29, although the tie of the round looks to be at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea will host Manchester United.

Holders Liverpool entertain Swansea City, while Arsenal’s north London rivals Spurs, who won 3-0 at Carlisle on Wednesday night, will visit Norwich City.

Full fourth-round draw:

Sunderland v Middlesbrough

Swindon Town v Aston Villa

Wigan Athletic v Bradford City

Leeds Utd v Southampton

Norwich City v Tottenham

Liverpool v Swansea City

Chelsea v Manchester Utd

Reading v Arsenal

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