Olivier Giroud made his Premier League return a memorable one as a second-half substitute with a well-taken brace in Arsenal’s 4-1 win away against Sunderland on Saturday.
The 30-year-old Frenchman, who had only played 51 minutes of Premier League action before kick-off, ultimately made the weary Sunderland backline pay in the space of 5 minutes with a quick-fire double to all but confirm three points for the visitors.
Having made a second-half cameo against Reading in midweek, Arsène Wenger confirmed the forward would be included in the matchday squad and Giroud didn’t disappoint when introduced. In the post-match press conference, Giroud was asked a number of questions including whether the win was as straightforward as the scoreline suggested.
After the game, Giroud told the club’s official website, “In the end we made it easy, but it was totally the reverse. We started well but after they came back well in the game. We didn’t succeed to get the second goal and we were a bit exposed in the second half. It was nice to score this second goal, and after we finished the job well.”
Post-match statistics showed Giroud netted two goals with his first two touches of the match and when asked, he said, “If I could do that in every single game, I would be the most happy man. I’ve been lucky today – I had great assists from my team-mates [Kieran Gibbs and Mesut Özil], so I always try to finish the job well.
“It’s a big time for me because I’m coming back from a tough injury and I’m very happy to get back on the pitch. It’s nice for myself and the team. To score is always important for a striker.”
Despite a number of clubs making clear their aspirations for Premier League title success this season, it’s easy to forget we’re still only at the end of October.
After the 4-1 win, Arsenal leapfrogged Manchester City – albeit for a few hours – into top spot. Giroud was asked his thoughts on whether the Gunners had put a marker down by going top. “We’ve only played a quarter of the league,” he said.
“It’s still the beginning of the league and I’m not the man who will speak too much because we are first. We enjoy this position, obviously we want to finish first and win the league, but we know there is a long time to go. We’re in a good moment and we need to keep it up and be consistent.”