Olivier Giroud: Arsenal 'owe' Europa League win to goalkeeper Petr Cech
Olivier Giroud said Arsenal "owe" their Europa League victory to goalkeeper Petr Cech more than his own spectacular goal in the 1-0 win at Red Star Belgrade on Thursday.
With their hosts down to 10 men, Giroud hooked an 85th-minute strike over his head and into the far corner with a fine effort after some good work from Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott.
But Arsenal needed Cech to keep the game goalless to that point, as the goalkeeper denied Nemanja Radonjic in both halves as well as a header from Nenad Krsticic -- earning praise from goal scorer Giroud.
"We owe him maybe the win today because he has been amazing two or three times," Giroud said of Cech. "We know he has this quality and he was a great goalkeeper tonight."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also had kind words for his goalkeeper.
"Of course its important to have a good goalkeeper in these kinds of games," the manager said. "He came out very quickly on counter-attacks and sometimes when we lost the ball in unexpected ways it was dangerous, and Petr Cech kept us in the game."
And Wenger said Giroud informed him during the game that the goal would come.
"At one stage he came to the touchline and told me we will score," Wenger said of Giroud. "Certainly he knew more than I did, but that's Giroud, he keeps belief when it's tough. That's why maybe he scores at moments you do not expect him to score."
On his goal -- somewhat similar to the Puskas Award-finalist strike he scored last season against Crystal Palace -- Giroud said he only attempted the audacious shot after he failed to locate a teammate to whom he could pass.
"In that position I can control the ball and try to play with another teammate, but I didn't see anyone and I tried to take it as I can," he said. "It was a little bit like Palace, and I've been a bit lucky because it's top corner, but it's back of the net..
"I'm happy for the team, because we've been resilient until the end. We keep believing in our game and we knew it would be a tough game, but we needed to be patient and played our game with our qualities."
Arsenal have won all three of the games to open the Group H campaign, and with two home games remaining, Giroud said he believed the Gunners could finished with a 100 percent record.
"We obviously want to win every single game, and we've played two away games, and this is very nice for the future," Giroud said. "We can play with certainty and try to win every game in this group."
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