Arsene Wenger hopes win will give Arsenal strikers confidence
Arsene Wenger said before the 4-0 win over Hull City that he hoped Olivier Giroud would get "a little injection of confidence to score tonight" after the birth of his son and so it proved with the Frenchman bagging a brace.
Giroud, 29, celebrated by ending his barren run -- he had not scored in 12 games since his brace against Liverpool nearly two months ago -- with two goals as Arsenal cruised into quarterfinals, with Theo Walcott also adding a late brace.
"You always say to your strikers don't worry if you don't score, but those are lost words," Wenger said. "They need to score."
After the game, Wenger said he had no doubts about starting Giroud up front, after preferring Danny Welbeck against Tottenham on Saturday.
"I made the decision to play him because he always wants to play," Wenger said. "Giroud's goal will help him and give him euphoria."
Giroud marked his first goal with a cradle-rocking celebration with his teammates in honour of his newborn son, and said he was glad he decided to play so soon after the birth.
"My wife had her delivery last night, but I wanted to play this game, and I'm very happy for the team because we go through," Giroud told BT Sport. "I made sure they are very well before I left. Today I'm very pleased to be back on the score sheet, even more so because it's been a long time that I didn't score."
The same was true for Walcott, who had just one goal in his last 15 games. Walcott began the season as the first-choice centre-forward ahead of Giroud but has struggled to even get a spot on the wing of late. He played on the left against Hull, and said he is learning to enjoy that role as well.
"It's the first time I've been playing out on the left quite a lot. I've actually probably missed playing out on the wing to be honest, it's a different attacking threat for me," Walcott said. "I've always said I can play in any of the front three positions, and hopefully I've shown the manager what I can do."
Arsenal next face Watford in the quarterfinals on Sunday before travelling to Barcelona trying to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the Champions League. With the team eight points behind leaders Leicester in the Premier League, the FA Cup could again be their best chance at a trophy this season.
And Walcott said Arsenal badly want to become the first team in the modern era to win the competition three years in a row -- Blackburn were the last time to achieve that feat, in the 1880s.
"We want to keep hold of it. We want to be the first team that has ever done this," Walcott added. "And it's a massive thing for personally being English as well. It's a sense in that dressing room now that we want to actually do it again this year. And from that performance, why not?"
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.