Giroud 'among the best in Europe' - Wenger

Olivier Giroud is among the best strikers in Europe, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Following his hat-trick in the Champions League in midweek, Olivier Giroud has been hailed as among the best strikers in Europe by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Giroud netted his first Arsenal treble in Wednesday's 3-0 win at Olympiacos - a victory that saw Arsenal usurp their Greek opponents in Group F and secure qualification for the knockout stages of the competition.

Former Montpellier striker Giroud has come in for criticism from some quarters for his sometimes erratic finishing, which many believe prevents him from being considered in the top pantheon of modern strikers.

But in Friday's media conference ahead of Sunday's Premier League visit to Aston Villa, Wenger had nothing but praise for his countryman, who has 13 goals in 23 appearances across all competitions this season.

"Look at his record, he has special qualities that are difficult to find," Wenger said. "We want him to be efficient but where he has improved is his link play with others.

"He always wants to improve, he has a positive, strong mentality and he's come back in a very strong way.

"You have to cope in our game, you are questioned and in his job, centre-forward, you are questioned even more.

"I think he's in that league [of top strikers] because he plays for one of the best clubs in Europe and he scores goals.

"His number of goals and games you have to give him credit and he's not only a goalscorer. He's a guy who keeps working for the team and yes I think he's among the best strikers in Europe."