Arsenal boss hails striker after his super goal helps team beat West Ham 3-1
London: Arsene Wenger believes Olivier Giroud's decisive contribution to Arsenal's vital 3-1 win over West Ham is a sign the striker is back to his best in time to fire his side into the Champions League.
Olivier Giroud (centre) shoots past West Ham 'keeper Adrian to score Arsenal's second goal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday. Pic/Getty Images
Wenger's team climbed back above Everton into fourth place in the Premier League thanks to Giroud's inspired strike and a brace from Lukas Podolski at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
The Gunners had fallen behind to Matthew Jarvis' first half header, but Podolski equalised and Giroud then produced a brilliant first touch and lethal finish to put the hosts ahead soon after the break.
Giroud's majestic piece of control was reminiscent of Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp at his best and Wenger hopes the forward's performance bodes well for the final four games of the season. Wenger said: "Olivier is a great guy with a great mentality. He has gone through a difficult period as you know.
"I think it affected his confidence but you could see he is refreshed now. At half-time he came in very down because he missed a chance, but he is mentally strong and made up for it. It was a perfect first touch. You need that if you want to score. What I like is he used his upper body to make some space and after that he still had to finish it."
Giroud's goal was the highlight of a much-needed comeback from Arsenal after a lethargic first half threatened to make a mockery of Wenger's selection gamble.
Leaving the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench, Wenger fielded his oldest starting eleven in the Premier League since May 2003.
Yet, despite that average age of 29 years 188 days, Arsenal were still going strong at the end and Wenger hopes they can replicate that desire and energy for the final four matches of the tense run-in.
"It was a gamble. I said before the game that it was one of the oldest teams I've ever played at Arsenal but I trusted the experience. That experience helps when your back is against the wall," he said.