Arsenal: Olivier Giroud deserves more credit - Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says striker Olivier Giroud deserves more credit after playing a key part in a "perfect week" which saw the Gunners move top of the Premier League.
The Frenchman opened the scoring with a penalty in Sunday's 2-0 win at Aston Villa, his 50th Premier League goal.
He also netted a hat-trick at Olympiakos on Wednesday to help Arsenal reach the Champions League last 16.
"He is at the top of his game, but is sometimes questioned," said Wenger.
"Finally the numbers get people to realise he is a good player."
Giroud, 29, became only the seventh Arsenal player to score 50 Premier League goals when he converted from the spot in the eighth minute after Alan Hutton pulled back Theo Walcott.
|Arsenal's 50 Premier League goals club|
|Thierry Henry, Ian Wright, Robin van Persie, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud|
He has scored 72 goals in 121 starts, plus 37 appearances from the bench, in all competitions since arriving at Emirates Stadium for £12m from Montpellier in June 2012.
But Wenger says Giroud is not given the credit he deserves because he does not possess "electric" pace.
"He is more of a player who plays with his back to goal and brings other people in.
"Maybe he is not spectacular individually but he is very efficient and a very important player for the team. He is also mentally very strong."
Arsenal are a point clear of Manchester City and Leicester City, with the Foxes hosting Chelsea on Monday in their game in hand.
Energetic Arsenal allay Wenger fears
Arsenal's 3-0 win over Olympiakos ensured they reached the Champions League last 16 for the 16th season in a row.
Wenger admitted after victory over Villa that he was "anxious" about his team's physical condition following their midweek exertions in Greece.
But Aaron Ramsey started and finished a superb counter-attack to reward their first-half dominance - and ultimately seal victory over a Villa side who are eight points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.
"I know that Villa are fighting to survive and it was maybe a set of important points to win against a team low on confidence," said Wenger.
"Overall, it was a controlled performance and a great week for us.
"Don't worry, I have already had a few bad weeks so it balances itself out a little bit."
'Garde needs time at Villa'
Arsenal's trip to Villa Park pitted Wenger against former Gunners player Remi Garde for the first time.
Wenger, 66, urged his fellow Frenchman to take the Villa job following the sacking of Tim Sherwood, but they have failed to win in five matches since his arrival.
"His team looked in good spirit with good cohesion and they are a bit short of confidence," Wenger said.
"He will do a good job and he needs to be given time here.
"Time in the Premier League is difficult to get now but I encouraged him to come because I believe he has the intelligence and the quality, a good eye and good personality."