Olivier Giroud denied that Arsenal had an easy time of things in their 4-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The France international came off the bench to score twice in the second half after Jermain Defoe had cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s first-half header.
Sanchez netted a late fourth to seal a fifth win in six league games for Arsene Wenger’s side and condemn bottom-of-the-table Sunderland to an eighth defeat in 10 top-flight matches.
Giroud, however, says the scoreline did not reflect a second half that proved troublesome at times for the Gunners.
“At the end we made it easy but it was totally the reverse. We started well but they came back,” he told Sky Sports.
“We were a bit exposed in the second half so it was nice to score the second goal. We finished the job well after that.”
Giroud’s goals – his first of the season – came with his first two touches of the ball after he replaced Alex Iwobi in the 69th minute.
“If I could do that every game, I would be the happiest man!” he said. “I was lucky today, I had a great assist from my team-mates.
“It’s a big time for me to come back from a tough injury. I’m very happy to get back on the pitch and it’s nice for myself and the team. It’s important for a striker to score.
“We’ve only played maybe a quarter of the league so it’s still the beginning. I’m not a man who will speak too much. We’re enjoying this position [at the top] because we want to win the league but there is a long way to go.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set up Sanchez’s first goal with a fine cross, but he missed two good chances on the counter-attack in the second half before Defoe gave Sunderland a lifeline.
The England midfielder conceded that anxiety began to creep in as the Gunners failed to kill off the encounter, before Giroud’s timely introduction.
“You do get some doubts when they get up again but we knew we had a lot of time still,” he said.
“The game was very open and we looked like we could score some goals. We had a few opportunities so we were confident that we just had to keep going.
“Second half I had a few good opportunities, one I didn’t realise I had a little more time and I snatched at the shot. But I’m happy to be scoring more of those goals and I’ll hopefully finish them off a bit better [in future] than I did today.”
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