Arsenal’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Montpellier on Wednesday evening was exactly what the Gunners needed off the back of their 5-2 win at the weekend over Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby.
The Gunners’ faithful at the Emirates was treated to a thriller of a victory over their fiercest rivals last weekend, upon which Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hoped to build, after a poor run of results in the last month.
Before the weekend, Arsenal had taken just two wins in ten games – one in extra time against Reading away in the Capital One Cup and one with an offside goal in the 84th minute at home to Queen’s Park Rangers.
The North Londoners’ form had slumped and their confidence had taken a knock, culminating in their lackluster 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford to title rivals Manchester United earlier this month.
But the weekend’s emphatic win was enough to boost Arsene Wenger’s side’s morale, demonstrated by a controlled and confident display against Montpellier which put them through to the next phase of the Champion’s League with a game to spare.
Striker Olivier Giroud who netted a goal at the weekend and two assists for the Gunners in midweek now believes Arsenal can go on a run, starting with Aston Villa on Saturday.
He told me after Wednesday’s game,
“We won tonight, we are qualified and we want to perform this weekend against Villa. It will be a hard game against a good team so we have to continue in this way and on this good run.”
His manager will be pleased with the progress the Frenchman has made – after a slow start, adjusting the Premier League; he’s now scored 7 goals in all competitions and looks to have developed a profitable understanding with his teammates.
He provided assists for both Arsenal’s goals midweek – I asked him if he felt his confidence was growing, along with the team’s.
“I know my teammates better now and I feel good in this team I take a lot of pleasure and it’s a great pleasure to play in this team.”
He also paid tribute to the fans for their encouragement and support.
“I feel relieved now and better and better in the game with the amazing public who sing my song now. I’m very proud of that. It makes me very confident and I want to keep going, fighting as always on the pitch.”
image: © ronnie macdonald