Arsene Wenger was delighted with Olivier Giroud’s goalscoring return on Saturday as he came off the bench to help fire Arsenal to a 4-1 victory over Sunderland.
The France international scored with his first two touches of the ball after replacing Alex Iwobi in the 69th minute to put the Gunners 3-1 ahead after Jermain Defoe’s penalty had cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s opener.
Sanchez added a fourth in the closing stages as Arsenal cruised to a fifth win in six Premier League games to go temporarily top of the table.
And Wenger says the decision to bring on Giroud was an easy one, such is the threat in front of goal that he brings.
“I would have signed for 2-1 in that time, but the last 10 minutes were relaxing,” he said. “The first two balls Giroud touched were goals. With a player like him on the bench, it’s easy to make decisions.
“When they score goals you have no headache. But we play every three days, so nobody can play all the games and it’s up to me to find the right balance between attacking and defending in every game.
“He’s a guy who has gone through some difficult times, he was even questioned by the crowd before the European Championship in France. But in the end everyone is on his side.”
Wenger was relieved to see his side recover from Defoe’s equaliser to secure the victory, with Middlesbrough having held them to a 0-0 draw at Emirates Stadium last week.
“I’m happy with the performance, the result. We were questioned with our spirit at one stage because we missed some chances, and at 1-1 you think that you could lose a game that should be over,” he said.
“We kept going again and won in a comfortable way in the end. It was important to win because we had six wins and then one draw at home, which was disappointing.
“To have another game without a win would have maybe created some uncertainty so it was important to win again.
“We wanted not to let them gain confidence. It was important for us to dominate the game and that’s what we did.”
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