Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has come out and hailed French International Olivier Giroud as one of the deadliest strikers in Europe.

Arsene Wenger was speaking ahead of his side’s early afternoon clash against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.

Giroud scored a spectacular hattrick in midweek against Greek side Olympiakos in Piraeus to guide Arsenal into the final 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The Frenchman has also scored 5 goals in his 7 last matches for the Gunners in the Barclays Premier League.

Despite not starting 6 of the 15 fixtures for Arsenal in the league this season due to the deployment of Theo Walcott in front of goal, Giroud is the club’s leading goal scorer in all competitions (13).

Giroud one of the best strikers in Europe: Wenger

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Speaking to the media ahead of his side’s clash against Aston Villa on Sunday, Arsene Wenger heaped enormous praise upon striker Olivier Giroud after his recent goal scoring exploits.

“If you look at the number of goals he has scored you have to give him credit,a Wenger said (as quoted by the guardian). a And he is not only a goalscorer a he works a lot for the team. He is among the best strikers in Europe.a

Asked whether Giroud deserves to be ranked alongside Europe’s top strikers such as Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Wenger replied, “Of course. And [Theo] Walcott as well. We have Walcott, Giroud and [Alexis] SA?nchez that can all score goals. And they all have different styles, which is very important as well.”

“You can never give up the style of player he is. If you go on the counterattack, of course, he isna t the kind of player you want. Thata s why when we played against Bayern [in October] I chose Walcott because you know you will be more in your half and have to go out quickly.”

“When you dominate games and need a presence in the box, there is no better player than Olivier.a

Giroud’s form pivotal to Arsenal’s title run amidst crippling injury crisis

Giroud’s return to goal scoring form has coincided with one of the worst injury crisis that Arsene Wenger has ever faced at Arsenal. Players such as Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, etc. have been out injured in the recent weeks.

Giroud has effectively carried the burden of scoring goals for his side in the absence of these players for Arsene Wenger’s side. His style of play might not be the most aesthetically appealing on the eye, however his finishing prowess is second to none.

Arsene Wenger will be hoping to keep Giroud fit and firing if Arsenal are to maintain an effective title run this season.