Giroud the main man as Arsenal scrap three points

Posted by Andrew Mangan

Olivier Giroud celebrates his goal against Tottenham.GettyImagesOlivier Giroud celebrates his goal against Tottenham.

There were shades of last season as Arsenal scrapped their way to a crucial 1-0 victory over Spurs at the Emirates on Sunday.

In beating their north London rivals to fourth place last season the Gunners went on a fantastic end-of-term run, battling and fighting for results at the expense of the flowing football they're renowned for. It wasn't pretty, but it was effective.

- Giroud earns bragging rights

On Sunday it was something similar. Spurs had lots of possession without ever really causing big problems for the Arsenal defence and that was down to how hard the Gunners worked. Their work rate was epitomised by striker Olivier Giroud, who was tireless from the first minute until the last, defending resolutely in his own box as well as providing a hugely effective outlet as the lone front man for Arsene Wenger's side.

It was fitting, then, that the Frenchman got the only goal of the game. It came from Arsenal's best piece of football with Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey involved before Tomas Rosicky fed Theo Walcott. The winger's cross to the near post required the deftest of finishes and Giroud duly provided it, adroitly stabbing it past Hugo Lloris for his second derby goal in three games.

That makes it four goals in five games for the former Montpellier man and he's started his second season in English football in great style. He knows that Wenger wants a striker, and the manager still has a little more than 24 hours to bring one in, but all you can ask of a player in that position is that he responds and Giroud certainly has.

Arsenal's performance on the day wasn't anywhere near as fluid as it was against Fulham, or in the two Champions League games against Fenerbahce. Certainly the quality of the opposition was different. You can see how Spurs, when the new players get some time to settle in, will improve over the course of the season, but Wenger's side showed they can win in different ways and that versatility could prove crucial as this campaign progresses.

Finally, a word on Wojciech Szczesny. The Pole had a couple of difficult moments against Aston Villa on the opening day but since then has put in some excellent performances, keeping Arsenal in the game against Spurs on Sunday with a truly outstanding second-half save.

A Spurs shot deflected off Laurent Koscielny, wrong-footing Szczesny, but he changed direction and at full stretch palmed the ball away from the bottom corner. After the game Wenger, rightly, noted that Spurs keeper Lloris was their best player, but the Arsenal goalkeeper was just as important to his side.

With reports that Italian stopper Emiliano Viviano is on the way to provide depth and competition, Szczesny has now put in four solid performances and if he keeps it up, and adds consistency to his game, he'll keep his place as No. 1 with no problem.


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