Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal

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Interview

Giroud - Why I tried THAT overhead kick

Olivier Giroud scores against Red Star

Olivier Giroud’s stunning overhead kick made all the difference in Serbia on Thursday night in our 1-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.

The France international combined with Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere before opting for a bicycle kick to complete a sumptuous move from the trio.

Giroud’s overhead kick may have took many by surprise, but the man himself knew just what to do.

on a ‘stylish goal’…
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.

on whether he expected to have maximum points at this stage…
Obviously we want to win every single game, but we played two away games and it’s very good for the future. We can play now with more serenity. But yes, we maybe didn’t expect it and we have done a good job. 

Goals

Watch Giroud’s spectacular winner against Red Star

We continued our 100 per cent record in the Europa League group stage with a late win against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night.

Olivier Giroud scored the winner, firing a spectacular overhead kick into the top corner to secure all three points at the end of a tough encounter in Serbia.

You can watch highlights from our win by pressing the ‘Play’ button above - and don’t forget to vote for your man of the match below:

Post-Match Report

Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Arsenal: How it happened

WHAT HAPPENED

Olivier Giroud scored a great late goal to snatch all three points against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night.

In a clash of few clear chances, we were indebted to Petr Cech for some fine saves, while Theo Walcott and Reiss Nelson came closest to scoring for us early on before Giroud's winner.

The match had got off to a cagey start, with both sides feeling each other out in the opening exchanges in front of the vociferous home fans who created a wall of noise inside this old stadium.

The Red Star fans roared their approval any time their side ventured forward, but in truth the hosts were kept quiet during this period by a back three containing Mathieu Debuchy, in for his first start since November 2016.

In fact, we were first to threaten when, with 15 minutes on the clock, Jack Wilshere floated in a free kick that caused panic in the area, with the ball eventually breaking to Theo Walcott eight yards out. It was on his weaker foot, and the England forward scuffed his shot, allowing Milan Borjan to make the save.

Jack Wilshere in action v Red Star Belgrade

But back came the Serbs, and they soon had Petr Cech scrambling with a shot that screwed wide of the far post. It was an effort that only encouraged the home fans, who raised the decibels inside the ground even further.

The Arsenal goalkeeper then had to scramble to his right as Richmond Boakye sent a header from a corner against the crossbar, with Debuchy heading the loose ball out.

Cech was called into action again just after the half-hour mark when Slavoljub Srnic delivered a teasing ball from the right that reached Nemanja Radonjic at the far post. The Red Star forward took a touch, before hitting a fierce half volley that Cech did brilliantly to push away, with Reiss Nelson and Mohamed Elneny blocking the follow-up shot.

Red Star continued to threaten after half-time, with Elneny making a fine sliding tackle to deny Boakye after the striker had been put through on goal.

Sixty seconds later, it was our turn to pour forward with Joe Willock created space in the area and teeing up Walcott, whose cross-cum-shot flew across the six-yard box and hit Giroud, the ball bouncing into the arms of Borjan.

Reiss Nelson was next to have a go as Wilshere’s cross from the left reached him at the back post, but his powerful drive was palmed away by the Red Star goalkeeper.

Reiss Nelson eyes up a pass v Red Star Belgrade

The game was starting to open up now, and it was the hosts who came forward next with Nenad Krsticic testing Cech with a firm header that the Arsenal goalkeeper was equal to.

As we entered the final 15 minutes, it became increasingly likely that whoever scored first would win this finely-poised clash – but both defences were holding firm.

However, with just five minutes remaining, Walcott, Wilshere and Giroud linked up brilliantly in the Red Star penalty area, culminating in a fantastic overhead finish from the Frenchman to break the deadlock at the death.

AS IT HAPPENED

See how the game unfolded through our play-by-play coverage of the match

ELNENY WATCH

Mohamed Elneny played in an unfamiliar position on Thursday evening, as Arsene Wenger thrust him into the heart of our three-man defence.

The Egypt international performed well, and here are some of his key moments:

8 – Elneny steps forward from the back and spots Theo Walcott in space to the right of the area, but his raking pass just evades the England international

16 – Red Star threaten as Donald bundles his way past Wilshere and Willock to the edge of the area, but as he shapes to shoot Elneny steps up and pokes the ball away

32 – Cech saves brilliantly from Radonjic, with a combination of Nelson and Elneny blocking the follow-up effort and the Egyptian eventually dribbling the ball away to safety

47 – Elneny makes a superb sliding challenge to nick the ball off Boakye’s foot as he shapes to shoot after being played in on goal

54 – The Egypt international plays a poor backpass that Radonjic races on to, but his shot is saved by Cech

WHAT IT MEANS

Here's how Group H stands after our victory on Thursday night


WHAT’S NEXT

We travel to Everton on Sunday, needing a positive result after last weekend’s disappointment against Watford at Vicarage Road.

We have won 11 Premier League games at Goodison Park - only at West Ham and Aston Villa (12 each) have we a better away record – but the Toffees beat us there last time out, 2-1, as Ashley Williams headed in a late winner.

Interview

Jack - Why me and Giroud link so well

It was a goal worthy of winning any game.

After intricate link-up play involving Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere, the France international scored a delightful overhead kick to earn us three points in Belgrade.

But why is it that Jack and Olivier link up so well? 

Here’s what Wilshere told Arsenal.com after the final whistle:

on Giroud’s goal…
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.

on having a good understanding…
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.

on answering critics…
Yes I think so, I mean I said yesterday in our press conference I don’t think anyone can question our character, we showed that tonight, you know it’s a tough place to come I don’t think they’ve lost here this season, we knew that before the game and we knew that they were going to be up for it, of course they were, there fans were, it’s one of the most noises stadiums I’ve played in my career and of course they’re going to be up for it. They were well organised and they sat back and made us take the game to them when we had the ball and when they had the ball they caused us a few problems so we knew we were going to have to be ready and focused and the boss said at half time as well just keep playing keep playing because spaces are opening up and they did, we got the win so we’re happy.

on how much the young players will learn from playing in that environment…
It’s only a good thing. I remember when I was 18 or 19, we came to Partizan Belgrade and we won 3-1. It was a massive learning curve for me, so I’m sure they’re going to take stuff from this. I thought they were both outstanding, both of the starting boys and the boys that came on. But especially the boys that started. It’s a tough ask for them to come here, they’re only young, Reiss is just 17. So he’s playing in a position he’s not used to as well and he’s getting better and better. First half, I thought he was outstanding and Joe is the player who can win the ball back in their half and our half. He’s fit, he gets around the pitch and that’s massively important for this team. Going forward in this competition they’re going to learn and grow and be big players for us.

on having nine points already and whether they’re looking to the next stage…
When the draw happened, we knew we had enough quality to get out of this group. But it’s alright saying it, you have to go out there and do it. Away games like this and Borisov - we’ve got a bit to go still, but hopefully it can be done by then - it’s tough to come here. We knew we should qualify but we’ve still got to come to these places and do it and we’re happy with that. But it’s not done yet and we’ve got another three games. The next is at home and we look forward to playing at home.

Interview

‘Giroud told me on the touchline that he’d score!’

He’s done it again.

Olivier Giroud scored another unforgettable goal to add to his growing collection as we beat Red Star Belgrade on Thursday.

Arsene Wenger faced the media following the win and had this to say about the France international’s strike.

on Giroud’s goal…
Well at some stage he came to the touchline and told me he would score. I don’t know [how he knew but] that’s certainly no more than I did, but I think that’s Olivier Giroud - he keeps belief when it’s tough and that’s why maybe he scores as well at moments you don’t necessarily expect him to score.

on Debuchy…
I am pleased for him because he survived 90 minutes without any setback, he had only played one half in the under-23s on Monday night and overall he had a positive performance for someone who has been out for such a long time.

on the younger players…
I agree with you not only in their performance, but they showed character as well, it’s not easy to express yourself at 18 years of age. To play in such a heated atmosphere shows how much resilience to stress [they have], which is an important quality at our level.

Interview

Wenger - That win shows our character

Arsene Wenger was a satisfied man after his side claimed their third win from three games in the Europa League.

The victory against Red Star Belgrade came in difficult circumstances and the boss had this to say after the match:

on the win…
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.

on winning the game the way they did…
Well 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.

on there being calls for Jack to get a chance in the Premier League…
He will get a chance in the Premier League, don’t worry about that. I think at the moment it’s going like that. He got a big kick in the first half on his ankle but he managed to get through the 90 minutes and games of that intensity will, of course, help him a lot.

on how he’d rate the atmosphere…
Their support is absolutely amazing and fantastic. Red Star Belgrade is a big club, they have massive clubs here and there is a big history. But as well, I think the people know football here. They are passionate about it and you could see that tonight.

on whether the game is what he expected…
I felt that their team played with a high intensity, were very compact and overall the resistance was higher than I expected from them. They played very well in transitions when they won the ball back, they went always very quickly at us and overall, I must say, the intensity that they maintained for 90 minutes was remarkable.

News

Vote for your #RSBvAFC man of the match

Olivier Giroud celebrates against Red Star Belgrade

Olivier Giroud’s sensational overhead kick secured a late win for us against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night. 

Jack Wilshere was heavily involved in the build-up during another influential performance in midfield, while Petr Cech and Mohamed Elneny’s resilient performances at the back helped us keep a clean sheet.

But who was your man of the match? Have your say by voting in our poll below:

 

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