Giroud: Gunners will get better
Published 11/08/2014 | 23:35
Olivier Giroud has warned the rest of the Barclays Premier League that Arsenal can only get stronger over the course of the season.
The FA Cup winners dismantled defending champions Manchester City 3-0 to win the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
However, City boss Manuel Pellegrini selected something of a makeshift side, with Willy Caballero starting ahead of England's Joe Hart, several other regulars missing after World Cup duty and summer signings Bacary Sagna and Frank Lampard, brought in on loan from New York City FC, watching on from the stands.
Of course, much sterner challenges will lie ahead for the Gunners, but Giroud - who cracked home a sublime third goal from 25 yards in the second half - believes the additions of £30million Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, France international Mathieu Debuchy and promising young defender Calum Chambers, as well as Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina, can stand them in good stead to finally last the distance over the next nine months.
World Cup winners Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil have all now returned to Arsenal's Hertfordshire base ahead of the opening Premier League match at home to Crystal Palace, after which the Gunners travel to Istanbul for the first leg of what is a crunch Champions league play-off against Besiktas.
"When our Germans join us, we will be stronger for sure and hopefully until May," said Giroud, whose fine strike helped the substitute collect the sponsors' man of the match award.
"That (the championship) is the target. Last year we did well until March. We had a bad run after, but we really wanted to come back and be stronger than last year."
Giroud, 27, believes the arrival of Sanchez from Barcelona will add another attacking dimension to the Gunners' already formidable frontline.
"Like Mesut when he signed for Arsenal, it is always easy to play with these kind of players," said Giroud.
"I think he will maybe need some more games to adapt his game to the Premier League, but that is normal.
"He is a fantastic player, so I think he will (have) a great season.
"He has different qualities to me, Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell. He can bring his pace and his technique in the centre of the park and he is a great finisher.
"We have a good quality squad and now the quantity, so that is why I think we will be stronger this year."
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, meanwhile, knows Arsenal must also retain a sense of perspective heading into the new season.
He said: "Obviously we are enjoying the win, but what is important is that we are ready to start the season. We are looking strong, but we are not reading too much into it.
"Rather than talking about their lack of threat, I talk about our good defensive performance and the whole team shape as we limited them to a couple of chances."
Szczesny added: "Hopefully it (squad) will be the most successful one but looking at it on paper, yeah it probably is the strongest one we have had.
"Except for Thomas (Vermaelen), we have not lost any key players, even if someone did leave on a free, we have managed to replace them with good players.
"As I said, we are looking stronger and stronger and we are very happy with that."
Ospina was brought in to provide some healthy competition for the number one jersey following the departure of Lukasz Fabianski to Swansea.
Szczesny said: "I am going to enjoy that. At such a big club you expect very strong competition, so I am sure it will make us both better goalkeepers."