Giroud relieved after Arsenal hold on for victory

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud admitted he was relieved after his side held on for victory at Newcastle United on Saturday after withstanding severe second half pressure, Sky Sports has reported.

The in-form Gunners looked to be coasting at half-time as Giroud’s quick-fire double gave them a 2-0 lead as Newcastle rarely threatened. First, the Frenchman turned home following the hosts’ failure to deal with Santi Cazorla’s free-kick before he beat Mike Williamson in the air to head home a corner three minutes later.

But Newcastle started the second half quickly and pulled a goal back when Moussa Sissoko classily stroked the ball home after a cross from Ayoze Perez, who went close with a long range shot soon after. In the closing stages, Arsenal were forced on the defensive as the Magpies continued to create chances, with David Ospina twice showing good reflexes to keep the top-four hopefuls ahead.

They managed to hold on for their sixth successive Premier League victory and temporarily go just four points behind leaders Chelsea, and Giroud was thankful for the win, saying: “It’s incredible. I don’t know why we didn’t play any more in the second half. It’s a shame because we could have scored more goals,” he said.

“I think maybe we were a bit tired from Tuesday in the Champions League game against Monaco. It’s still three points, but they put us under pressure until the end.”

The brace meant Giroud has now scored eight goals in nine league games, and on that form, he added: ‘When you’re a striker and when your team is struggling a bit you have to help them, and we’re used to all of us defending well and attacking well together. That’s what we’ve done well in the last few games – we’re on a really good run and we want to keep it up.’

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