Wenger hails match-winner Giroud

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger praised Olivier Giroud for his fighting spirit after the striker netted a late winner against West Brom at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day.

The France international responded to being handed his first Premier League start of the season by scoring the only goal of the game four minutes from time to snap a two-match losing streak for the Gunners.

It was Giroud's fourth goal from 11 league appearances, and Wenger hailed his compatriot for proving his worth against the Baggies after his side had battled to break them down for most of the contest.

He has played second fiddle to Alexis Sanchez in attack this term, with the Chilean star impressing in the lone role up front, bagging 12 goals and providing six assists in 18 top-flight outings.

Speaking after the clash, Wenger said: "He always makes a point when he comes on, because he's scored many times when he's come on.

"He has qualities in our squad that are needed and that the other players have not. And he is a fighter as well, Olivier, he has a fantastic mentality.

"It has been very frustrating for him. Because he didn't always play. And when he played well, I didn't always play him in the next game.

"But I think we have an honest relationship, I have a big respect for him. And he knows that he was not always playing, and despite that he kept a strong motivation level."

He added: "We kept going and in the end, when we couldn't make a the difference on the ground we did it in the air with maybe the only player in our team who can do that."