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Jan, 28, 2013

Wenger praises 'old school' Giroud

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed Olivier Giroud as an "old school" English-style centre-forward, after the striker showed his scoring capabilities with four goals in his last two games.

• Blog: Cup hopes remain
• Blog: Giroud shows quality

Giroud, 26, was a constant menace to the Brighton defence as Arsenal negotiated a tricky FA Cup fourth round tie on Saturday, with Wenger suggesting his summer signing from Montpellier has recoverd from a "sloppy" start to his Gunners career to emerge as a striker with real potential.

"He started a bit sloppy and has become stronger and stronger," Wenger told the Arsenal website. "When he gets into the fighting mode, it is difficult to handle him. This guy is tall, strong and quicker than people think he is. He has good finishing as well.

"He could have played in England 20 years ago, 10 years ago and today. He has all you need to play as a centre-forward. He has a physical presence. Giroud gives us something different. I believe with him and Theo we have a good blend."

Wenger has admitted there was a danger that his side would have been plunged into despair if they had suffered another cup exit at the hands of Brighton on Saturday, but he is hoping their battling triumph can kick-start their trophy hunt.

After the Gunners were stunned by League Two giant killers Bradford in the Capital One Cup last month, Wenger conceded he did not know whether his team could have coped with a second embarrassing humbling at the hands of lower league rivals.

"It was important to win and qualify because you know that if you go to a lower-division and go out, the environment of the team would not be very good," he said. "We were on the ropes a bit at some times during the game and that was less pleasant, but Brighton are a good side."

Wenger has hinted that he may not spend big in the January transfer window after all, despite earlier claims that he would be active in player recruitment this month. He now insists he is satisfied with the quality of players at his disposal.

Giroud credits his recent spate of goals to a change in attitude, although he has quickly turned his focus to the midweek clash with Liverpool.

"We didn't start the game as we wanted because we didn't put in a good commitment and not really enough determination," he said. I play better not when I am angry, but with determination, this is very important in football.

"When you don't have the hunger you can't play very well and succeed. You need it. It is very important for me and for all of the team, and you saw it again against Brighton.

"We want to get six points against Liverpool and Stoke to reach Tottenham and fourth place (in the Premier League), then we will play and see where we get."

Giroud, 26, struggled to make an impression early on in the season after his summer move from Montpellier, but the striker insists he is relishing the opportunity to become a consistent performer in the Premier League.

"I chose this championship because there is more intensity, more physically, you have to be ready in the athletic way," he said. "I like it, but I like to play good football as well."

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