Arsenal's Mesut Ozil now showing his true greatness - Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud believes in-form Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil is now showing his true class after the German's match-winning performance helped send the Gunners top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Monday.
Ozil, 27, made the first goal, scored the second and created a host of other chances as Arsenal recovered from their 4-0 drubbing at Southampton by beating the Cherries at the Emirates.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said Ozil's performance reminded him of club legend Dennis Bergkamp, hailing the former Real Madrid star as an "exceptional" and "complete" player after watching him pick up his 16th assist of the season for Gabriel's opening goal.
In the second half Giroud laid on Ozil's third goal of the campaign and afterward the France striker also praised the playmaker.
"He got a lot of criticism from the start because he wasn't efficient enough," Giroud told L'Equipe. "Now he's showing what a great player he is.
"His stats are impressive. He breathes football.
"With a player like that, you know you're going to get at least one goal chance per game. It's a joy to play with him."
Giroud, 29, has been one of the main beneficiaries of Ozil's keen eye for a pass, having already found the net 10 times in this season's Premier League.
The former Montpellier forward was happy to get his first assist of the campaign on Monday, exchanging passes with Ozil by flicking the ball over the defence with the outside of his boot to tee up the World Cup winner for a simple finish past the goalkeeper.
"It's almost as enjoyable as scoring, especially since it was for Mesut who's laid on a few goals for me this season," Giroud said. "For once, we switched roles."
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Arsenal's win over Bournemouth saw them move ahead of Leicester City in the table, although Claudio Ranieri's side will go back to the summit if they beat Manchester City on Tuesday.
The Gunners are seeking to win the Premier League title for the first time since 2004 and Giroud was relieved that they had got back on track after a poor display at Southampton on Boxing Day.
"We felt very quickly that we weren't good," he said of the Southampton game.
"In a season there are matches like that where you don't perform. We've used up one of our wild cards.
"But at the same time it's better to lose 4-0 once than 1-0 four times."