Arsenal 2 Middlesbrough 0: Wenger explains Giroud substitution

The Arsenal boss insisted that he had no regrets about bringing off Olivier Giroud during 2-0 FA Cup win

Arsene Wenger insisted that he had no qualms about bringing Olivier Giroud off in the 80th minute of Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough, even though the striker was on a hat-trick.

The Gunners boss opted to substitute the forward after he had scored both of Arsenal’s goals in the first half of the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Emirates Stadium.

Giroud, 28, was visibly upset to be brought off with 10 minutes to play in north London.

But Wenger stood by his decision after the game, following a comfortable victory over the Championship outfit.

“I left him the chance [to score a hat-trick] for 80 minutes,” Wenger told BT Sport.

“Of course they want always to stay on and score a hat-trick but some young players can get experience from these kinds of games as well.”

Giroud himself conceded that he was disappointed to be brought off before the final whistle. “Yes, I wanted the hat-trick,” he said.

“I haven’t scored one for two and a half years. The boss decided another way but I am happy.”

The Arsenal boss went on to praise Giroud’s display during the cup tie after he netted his ninth and 10th goals of the season.

“He was very sharp,” he said. “He has improved a lot compared to the player he was when we he arrived here.

“He is mobile, technically good, and he works with great focus in training. He has become a top player.”

“I like the second goal because it’s a question of coordination between two players and as well quick intelligence and good finishing.”

Arsenal’s next game is a trip to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

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