Arsene Wenger urges Olivier Giroud's critics to stop doubting Arsenal striker after landmark goal

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The Frenchman opened the scoring from the penalty spot during the Gunners' victory over Aston Villa.

Arsene Wenger believes that Olivier Giroud has proved his critics wrong after he celebrated a half-century of Premier League goals for Arsenal with the opener against Aston Villa on Sunday, The Sun reports.

The striker helped put the Gunners back at the top of the table as his penalty set them on their way to a 2-0 victory over Remi Garde's side. And while goalkeeper Petr Cech was receiving much of the plaudits for a clean sheet that equalled the all-time Premier League record, Wenger was also quick to praise Giroud, and what he brings to the side (via The Sun).

"I believe Giroud's at the top of his game," he said.

"He's questioned sometimes but finally the numbers get people to realise he's a good player. I don't think people needed it for Petr Cech - but for Giroud I think he's improved as well technically.

"He likes to play with his back to goal and bring people in, so he's not, maybe, spectacular individually. But his link play is better and when we have the option to go for long balls he is always an interesting option.

"He's an efficient and important member of the team and he's mentally very strong," he added.

The former Montpellier forward was always going to have an uphill battle on his hands if he wished to convince everyone that he was capable of leading Arsenal back to the league crown.

In the last few decades alone the north London outfit have had several sensational forwards - most notably the likes of Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp - who have propelled the side towards the title, which has put a lot of pressure on Giroud's shoulders.

And while there may have previously been doubts about whether the 29-year-old could lead the line for a title-winning side, his efforts during this campaign so far suggest that, come May, he may be able to put those doubts to bed once and for all.

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