December 28, 2016 / 6:20 AM / 9 months ago

Patient Giroud hopes goal can lead to first team return

Britain Soccer Football - Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 26/12/16 Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates after the game Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley Livepic

(Reuters) - Olivier Giroud is hoping for a run of starts for Arsenal after the French striker scored the late winner in Monday’s 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium.

Giroud has scored six goals in 16 appearances but has become a regular fixture on the Arsenal bench this season, with manager Arsene Wenger opting to deploy winger Alexis Sanchez as the focal point of attack.

“It is all about keeping the focus high. Always keep working hard at training. I was speaking with the boss, we had a couple of discussions together and he explained to me why I hadn’t played too much,” Giroud told British media.

The 30-year-old, who has handed his first Premier League start of the season on Monday, gave a timely reminder of his goal-scoring prowess when he broke the deadlock in the vital victory over West Brom.

“But football is an everlasting new beginning, as I used to say, and you always have to keep focused and wait for your time,” he added.

“Hopefully things will change for me but as long as the team is getting better I am happy.”

Defender Laurent Koscielny heaped praise on Giroud and advised players vying to break into Wenger’s starting line-up to adopt his compatriot’s attitude.

“We are not 11 or 18 players, we are 25 players. All the players who play for Arsenal have a big part to play during the season because of injuries and suspensions,” Koscielny told the club’s website (www.arsenal.com).

“Everyone needs to be ready to fight for this club. Olivier started and he tried to give his best on the pitch. It was so important because last week we lost two games in seven days and we wanted to get back to winning three points.”

Arsenal, who are fourth in the table, nine points behind leaders Chelsea after 18 games, host 17th-placed Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru

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