Arsene Wenger has conceded that goal-shy striker Olivier Giroud is suffering from a crisis of confidence at Arsenal.
Giroud’s only goals in the Premier League since December came in the 3-3 draw against Liverpool on January 13, and the France international once more struggled to make an impact in Sunday’s goalless draw at struggling Sunderland.
Manager Wenger admitted afterwards that Giroud’s form is affecting his morale but insists he must be supported in his bid to regain a scoring touch.
“It’s true. The team got less forward to him in the second half. But strikers live on confidence and at the moment we have to be behind him,” he told Sky Sports.
“Our first half was good, the basis is good. The final ball was maybe not quick enough sometimes and our finishing was not the best.
“We had good domination but we created chances and didn’t take them. It was the kind of game where we needed to go in front because I thought we might suffer physically.
“It’s not the result we want, we wanted to win. It’s not good but we focus on the next one, that’s all you can do.”
Jermain Defoe was aggrieved not to win a penalty for Sunderland when Per Mertesacker blocked his shot with a raised arm inside the area, while DeAndre Yedlin escaped a similar offence when he slid in to close down Alex Iwobi.
Wenger, however, felt referee Mike Dean was correct.
“I think, when a guy is close to the ball and it’s not deliberate, it’s not a penalty,” he said to BBC Sport. “It’s the same for both sides.”
Arsenal are five points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United but, with Louis van Gaal’s side having played a game less, the top-four race is set to continue.
“It leaves us having to win the next game, as always,” Wenger added. “We fight against teams who fight not to go down.”
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