Arsene Wenger believes Olivier Giroud's physical and mental strength is proving a major asset to Arsenal's title challenge.
Giroud capitalised on a first-half howler from visiting goalkeeper Artur Boruc and converted a second-half penalty as Wenger's men stretched their lead at the Premier League summit to four points with a 2-0 victory over Southampton.
It took the France international striker's tally for the season to 10 goals, an unexpected return in light of his at times laboured attempts to get to grips with the English game after joining from Montpellier before the start of last season.
"Olivier is a positive character who is always ready for a battle," Wenger said.
"He's maybe completely different to the rest of the team but he gives us so much with his physical presence, with his link play that has improved tremendously and he has the mental qualities and a positive attitude."
Wenger conceded the run to double figures may have even surprised Giroud.
"Strikers will tell you, 'No, no - I'm not obsessed by scoring goals', but if they don't score they are sick.
"It is a relief for him I believe as well because he didn't expect it himself to score so many from the start of the season but that will only boost his confidence."
Wenger feels Southampton provided Giroud with the kind of physical battle he relishes, before suggesting such players are now a dying breed in Europe.
"He loves that he has a big frame and he uses his upper body well," he said.
"I said many times, Europe produces still fantastic football players but if you look we don't produce in Europe any more strikers, or very few.
"All the big strikers today come from South America. You look during the summer period, you had Falcao going to Monaco in a big transfer, Cavani going to Paris Saint Germain, Suarez - everybody wanted to buy him, Higuain has gone to Napoli for a lot of money.
"But that's an area where in Europe it is very difficult to find because we produce less strikers. Even a country like Germany, where I can remember in every big club they had a big striker.
"They have produced fantastic players but they do not produce young strikers and maybe is that a consequence of the way we coach; is that a consequence of modern life? I don't know."
|12||O. Giroud||22' 86'|
|Coach: A. Wenger|
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