Olivier Giroud Arsenal
Giroud celebrates his goal against Newcastle earlier in the season. Reuters

Arsenal Wenger has lauded Olivier Giroud following his 50th goal for the Gunners, since joining Arsenal from Montpellier in 2012.

The striker scored 17 and 22 goals respectively in his first two seasons at the Emirates and was criticised by everyone for his lack of pace and inability to affect a game.

However, the Frenchman has shown great mental strength and desire and has come to terms with the Premier League and is being currently heralded as one of the best players in the competition.

Giroud scored the winner for the Gunners in their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace last weekend to take Arsenal up to third spot and keep their challenge running for a place in the top four.

The presence of faster players around him in Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck has helped Giroud carve a niche for himself in the game, allowing them to run beyond him and carve goal scoring opportunities.

His ability to win the header gives Arsenal a different dimension and the Frenchman is currently the highest goalscorer in the league on headed goals. Wenger is pleased by his progression, and having signed a long term contract last year, will be hoping that he continues his dominance in the league.

"He had an important part in a game as direct as that, to keep the ball, to close them down. Overall he had a great contribution. I'm happy for him," Wenger told Arsenal's website.

"[Between] when I brought him here, and [when] you look at him today, I think there's a hell of a difference.

"That's credit to him - to the player he was and the player he is today, plus credit for his whole season, where he has worked very hard. I think there's still room for improvement for him," he added.