April 24 2014 Latest news:

Latest London news, sport & entertainment

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 10°C

Five-day forecast

Wenger hails Giroud’s ‘strength of character’ after brace against Black Cats

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (left) celebrates one of his goal with team mate Santi Cazorla (right). Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (left) celebrates one of his goal with team mate Santi Cazorla (right). Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Saturday, February 22, 2014
7:40 PM

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the mental strength of Olivier Giroud after the France striker marked his return to the side with a brace to help beat Sunderland 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Giroud had been left on the bench for the last two matches following a dip in form and some unwanted headlines about his private life.

However, the 6ft 4ins frontman delivered the perfect response with a first-half double as Arsenal put the midweek Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich behind them.

Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky converted a well-worked third ahead of the interval, before defender Laurent Koscielny headed in from a corner just before the hour.

Sunderland - who take on Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley next weekend - grabbed a consolation through a 25-yard drive from substitute Emanuele Giaccherini, but remain deep in relegation trouble.

Giroud opened the scoring on five minutes, before then capitalising on a poor backpass by Santiago Vergini to effectively kill off the match as a contest inside 31 minutes.

“I had no hesitation about his strength of character. Of course you want him to come back into the team and be successful, which he was today because he scored two goals,” said Wenger.

“One great one at the end of great movement and the other a little bit of a gift from Sunderland, he got an assist as well so he did well.”

Arsenal had earlier unveiled a bronze statue of former striker Dennis Bergkamp, who helped the club win seven major trophies, including the ‘Invincibles’ Premier League campaign of 2003/04.

Wenger felt the Dutch forward, who received a hero’s welcome on the pitch at half-time, would have appreciated the team’s efforts.

“We had a very demanding week physically and mentally and we gave the right response today. We did the job in the first half and I think we scored two great ‘Arsenal’ goals,” said Wenger.

“I am very pleased for Rosicky because today Bergkamp got a statue and I think Rosicky took the Bergkamp role well today. Certainly Dennis will have been pleased to have seen him play.”

Bergkamp, who is coaching at Ajax, suggested he would like to return to Arsenal in the future.

Wenger said: “I am not against it one day. He has the qualities, but you need to have the need as well because we have a big staff already.

“He is now at two clubs that made Dennis Bergkamp. The first, and certainly the most important one, is Ajax.

“He is at Ajax now and a coach there. The second club that is important in his life is Arsenal. Maybe that will be the next step.”

Wenger left out club-record signing Mesut Ozil, who had missed an early penalty against Bayern, because of a thigh problem.

“It was a kick. He should also be available next week. He is in the dressing room at the moment,” Wenger said.

The Gunners boss also hopes both defenders Koscielny (back) and Nacho Monreal (foot) will recover from their knocks to be fit to face Stoke.

Share this article

0 comments

   Local advertisers

More Arsenal news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Celebrity / Showbiz See all

The pop-up will mark Record Store Day, which is on Saturday (Picture: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

World’s smallest disco to open in Stoke Newington

Two musicians behind the ‘90s hit Brimful of Asha are launching the world’s smallest disco in Stoke Newington this weekend.

Read full story »