Red Star Belgrade 0 Arsenal 1
Giroud 85

Olivier Giroud struck a stunner of a late goal to seal all three points at a very raucous Red Star Belgrade. With the clock running down, and five minutes remaining, Jack Wilshere caused havoc in the away area and laid the ball off to Theo Walcott. The England striker did well to direct his brave header towards Giroud who with his back to goal struck with the perfect overhead kick to break the deadlock. The Gunners now have maximum points from three Group H Europa League games and look favourites to finish top of the group. Arsene Wenger made nine changes to his starting line up, but it was the experienced trio of Wilshere, Walcott and Giroud who created the winning goal. Giroud was pleased to have scored and Wenger later revealed that he predicted as such earlier in the match. The Serbian side had Rodic sent off after 80 minutes for receiving his second yellow card.

After the final whistle Giroud reflected on his stunning strike. ” Yes, you know in that position I tried to play with another teammate, but I didn’t see anyone, so I tried to take it overhead and off-balance and it went in the back of the net. It’s nice for the team and I’m happy for the team because we were resilient until the end. In the end, we kept the lead in the game and we just needed to be patient. It has been very difficult because it was an amazing atmosphere here today. The crowd is behind this team and it was a tough game but we really deserved the three points, ” said Giroud.

On his current form, Wenger will be unable to resist turning to Wilshere in the Premier League, where the England man has yet to feature this season. Wilshere himself was just pleased to get through another 90 minutes unscathed and boost his match day sharpness. His playing with Giroud has netted some stunning goals, with the one against Norwich City also coming to mind. Wilshere had the best view on Giroud’s goal, and was happy to have played his part in it.

” Yes that was a special one. I was up there, it was a good move as well you know, me and Theo worked it well and it sort of fell to him and he’s got that natural instinct just not even in front of goal, around the goal just to try something outrageous and it seems to be coming off for him so I’m happy for him and it’s a big three points for us.

” I think he knows how I like to play and I know how he likes to play. He knows that I like to pick it up and drive at the defence and he always gives me an option when I pick the ball up he seems to hold position up well, he’s strong when he holds the ball up and we play off each other well. We did that again tonight with Theo and we’re happy, we came here we know the fans came a long way so we’re thankful to them and we wanted to give them something to cheer about after the weekend and we did so we’re happy, ” said Wilshere.

Having been criticised for the loss at Watford last weekend, Wenger was happy with the response after his side’s mentality and character had been questioned. Wenger said, ” I believe that it was a very difficult game with high intensity in a very heated and supportive atmosphere for the local team and we kept going and trying to win the game and them as well in fairness. We played against a good Red Star team who were always dangerous on the counter attack. Petr Cech made some good saves and in the end we got a win that gives credit to the mentality of the team.

” I believe that you know you win when you can and we don’t decide that, overall I think what is remarkable is the spirit that we have shown today and fighting together in a game that was very physical and in the end we got the winner because I think they defended very well with a lot of determination and but as well the goal is a consequence of us really wanting to play through them, so it was a bit had the fact that we didn’t give up and wanted absolutely to score.”

Arsenal return to Premier League action with the trip to Goodison Park where although the Gunners have a good record, will want to make up for last season’s 2-1 loss to Everton having gone a goal in front. Wenger will restore the majority of his Premier League starting eleven, and Wilshere will hope to play his part this time around.