Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident Olivier Giroud will learn from his reckless red card in the 2-1 English Premier League victory over Queens Park Rangers, which will rule the France striker out of the rest of the hectic Christmas schedule.
The Gunners were in cruise control at the Emirates Stadium following Alexis Sanchez's tenth league goal on 37 minutes, the Chilean having seen a tame early penalty saved. However, a rush of blood from Giroud at the start of the second half reduced Arsenal to ten men. The forward charged into Nedum Onuoha, the defender hitting the ground right in front of the referee.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky, making a first start of the season, swept in a second on the break to giveArsenal some breathing space, before Charlie Austin set up a tense finale when he converted a penalty with 11 minutes left. Unlike at Liverpool last weekend, Arsenal held on under late pressure to move within two points of Southampton and one behind fifth-placed West Ham United - Sunday's opponents at Upton Park.
Wenger, who gave Giroud an icy glare as he stalked off the pitch, accepts the red card from referee Martin Atkinson was "deserved", with his team now set to pay the penalty of the frontman's mandatory three-match suspension for violent conduct. "Olivier Giroud knows he made a mistake and I know him well enough to think that he will not do it again," said Wenger, who confirmed the player had apologised for the incident.
"Madness is a strong word - he didn't kill him, but he touched him and should not have done it. He should have been in control." Giroud will miss now the Premier League games at West Ham and Southampton, as well as the FA Cup tie against Hull City on 4 January.
"Honestly, you never need that. In my job you sometimes have to deal with the strengths and sometimes the mistakes of people," said Wenger, who was able to celebrate his 400th Premier League victory despite some late pressure