Arsenal FC end the year at the top of the table as Giroud scores the winner against Newcastle United.

Olivier Giroud: Ozil will make his teammates better players

Arsenal have ensured that they end the year 2013 at the top of the Premier League points table after a hard fought win at St James’ Park against Newcastle United. The Gunners maintained their good record against the Geordies away from home as Olivier Giroud headed home the only goal of the match from a Theo Walcott free-kick. It was a scrappy game on all accounts as neither of the teams managed to get going in the first half. Both Arsenal and Newcastle were sceptical about taking too many risks in attack and the only meaningful attack arrived in the dying moments of the game when Newcastle troubled the Gunners from a corner.

Arsenal did show a lot more intent in the second half and managed to grab the lead from a free-kick. It was an innocuous delivery from Walcott, but Giroud managed to escape his markers and glanced the ball past Krul. The Gunners suffered an injury blow after taking the lead as Kieran Gibbs was replaced by Arteta. Wenger changed to defensive tactics in the end and the Gunners sat deep and invited pressure, but Newcastle United failed to break down their defence and the away side walked away with a crucial win.

Arsene Wenger was delighted with his hard fought win and insisted that the players had to dig deep for this result.

“We had to dig deep today

“I think we controlled the game quite well and we restricted them to basically no chances, but they are a good team.

“There were two aspects to the game. The first was leading up to 1-0 when we were quite in control, but after that we subconsciously only wanted to defend.

“Of course, there were some situations in our box, but our spirit got us through.” – The Arsenal manager said.

Wenger also praised Giroud and highlighted how important his physical strength and hold-up play was for the side.

“That is what you need in a team.

“He has these qualities, that of course is very important.

“We are small and technical, so to have a player up front to counterbalance that is important.” – Wenger added.