Wenger expresses Giroud delight

12 August 2017 04:47:43 EST
Olivier Giroud scored the winner for Arsenal against Leicester.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is happy that striker Olivier Giroud decided to stay after he came off the bench to score a late winner in the Gunners' 4-3 win over Leicester on Friday evening.

Giroud was looking surplus to requirements following the summer move of Alexandre Lacazette to the Emirates, with his compatriot signing from Lyon for a club-record £46.5m.

Lacazette scored within two minutes on his Premier League debut, heading the Gunners ahead on 94 seconds, suggesting a changing of the guard in the Arsenal strikeforce.

He doesn't want to leave and I'm happy he wants to stay.

Wenger on Giroud

However, Giroud was forced to come to the rescue in a topsy-turvy game in north London.

Shinji Okazaki equalized for the Foxes two minutes after Lacazette had netted before Jamie Vardy gave the visitors the lead. Danny Welbeck levelled just before half-time but Vardy went on to score again 11 minutes into the second half.

Arsenal were still 3-2 down with seven minutes remaining but they were to have the last laugh as an inspired double substitution from Wenger proved key.

Aaron Ramsey pulled the game back to 3-3 with an angled drive before Giroud met Granit Xhaka's corner to head home two minutes later.

This was Giroud's 97th goal in 231 appearances for the Gunners, and Wenger admitted after the game that he had been given the option to leave.

He said: "At one stage I opened the door for him as I knew I had many strikers, and in the end he decided to stay.

"He doesn't want to leave and I'm happy he wants to stay."

Giroud offers a more physical presence than Lacazette and has scored seven Premier League goals coming off the bench since the start of last season. While he admits he would like a more prominent role, the 30-year-old also stressed he is happy to help the team.

He said: "I prefer to be on the pitch as much as I can but I want to help the team reach the targets."

Giroud is 50/1 to be Premier League top scorer during the 2017-18 campaign, with Lacazette 9/1 and Vardy 33/1.

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