Monday 18 December 2017

Olivier Giroud aims to keep pressure on top two

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is targeting a perfect finish to the season to pile the pressure on Premier League title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City.

The Gunners kept up the heat on leaders Chelsea and second-placed City on Saturday evening following their hard-fought 2-1 victory at Newcastle.

Two seasons ago, Arsene Wenger's men responded to their Champions League exit by putting together a run of eight wins and two draws in their final 10 league games and, having succumbed to Monaco last Tuesday evening, Giroud (pictured) is looking for a similar surge towards the finishing line.

He said: "It's nice for the team because we are on a really good run, even if we were disappointed about the Champions League. We want to finish really strongly and finish in the best position by winning every single game.

"There are still eight games to play, so we need to focus on our games and step by step we're going to see. First we need to win every single game and then after we need to see if City or Chelsea miss one of these steps.

"You never know, you have to believe in football and that's why we want to win every single game."

The victory at St James' Park extended Arsenal's winning league run to six games and, while it looked as though it would arrive in routine style after Giroud's first-half double, they were ultimately grateful for the excellence of goalkeeper David Ospina, who produced a series of second-half saves to keep the resurgent Magpies at bay.

Giroud opened the scoring with 24 minutes gone when he bundled home Danny Welbeck's flick-on from a Santi Cazorla free-kick and he extended the lead just four minutes later when he made the most of some insipid defending to head Cazorla's corner past Tim Krul.

However, Moussa Sissoko reduced the deficit within three minutes of the restart and, had Ospina not managed to beat away a Mike Williamson header and Ayoze Perez's deflected 87th-minute shot, the home side would have emerged with a point.

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