There was optimism and some concern when Arsene Wenger made Olivier Giroud his second Arsenal transfer of the summer. The big Frenchman had fired Montpellier to the French title and top scored in the league, but the Gunners did not have a great recent history with strikers from Ligue 1, as Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho had both scored well in France then struggled at the Emirates.
Giroud did get off to a slow start, taking time to adapt to the English Premier league and getting over his nerves. He was playing well but missing chances, but then started to find the net and his performances steadily improved as well. In 2013, his form has been much better again and his finishing is markedly improved. The striker has been speaking about how being at Arsenal is helping him improve, and he is confident that this will continue.
“It’s all going to plan, but I know I can do better. I have room to improve, which means I can be more ambitious.
“I have matured in my mind. I have also learnt a lot, in particular with my back to goal. I control the ball more when I receive it and I read the situation.
“I am fortunate to have a coach who I can talk to and share things with. Recently we made a video and he talked me through how I can improve. On the pitch we know what we are doing. There is a trust and communication between us.”
I wonder if the presence of Thierry Henry might have helped as well. The former Gunner was training with the players, and Theo Walcott has already revealed that he had a long and very fruitful talk with Henry which has helped his game. Giroud could also have been given some tips by the master. His scoring has certainly gone up a gear since Henry came to London.
Giroud now has the belief that he can star in the Premier league, which will give him the confidence to start firing more for his country. With just two international goals for France so far, Giroud will be hoping to start and score in the friendly against Germany tonight.
“As a striker you can’t doubt yourself. In a career you will have periods of scarcity. You must be positive constantly, and I’m like that. Here it’s a requirement at a very high level.
“When you have an opportunity you must take it. When it’s not easy you have to look ahead and demand more from yourself. That’s just my motto.”