‘This will strengthen us even more’

By Connor Armstrong

After Jermain Defoe’s equalised with 25 minutes remaining, Arsenal’s response at Sunderland was always going to be under the microscope - and Arsene Wenger was delighted with what followed.

A brace from Olivier Giroud and another Alexis strike secured a 4-1 win, with the boss singling out his fit-again French forward for special praise.

"Olivier was absolutely brilliant,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. "He’s such a great option to have on the bench and overall you could see in training already that he was sharp, this week he is back to sharpness.

"He’s worked very hard, like Aaron. Aaron is still a bit behind but Olivier is there now."

Wenger hopes that Saturday’s win will prove to be a catalyst in the coming weeks and months.

"Statistically when you are 1-0 winning and suddenly the home team comes back 1-1, you have more chances to lose the game," he said.

"That’s why, in the end, it was a great response from our side and I think that will strengthen, even more, the belief in our squad that we can do well.

"I felt we had a great performance. Even if the regret you had when we didn’t take all our chances and Sunderland were 1-1, you thought ‘here we are…’

"Then it was [a case of] do we feel sorry for ourselves or do we bounce back and go again? That’s why I’m very pleased."

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