Wednesday 21 February 2018

Olivier Giroud insists Arsenal will be title challengers next season and won't change style of play

French striker also says he will not allow his confidence to be affected by critics of his performances, including club legend Thierry Henry

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud

Jeremy Wilson

Olivier Giroud is certain that Arsenal will be genuine Premier League title contenders next season and is also adamant that he will not allow his confidence to be damaged by critics of his performances, including the club's record goalscorer Thierry Henry.

In his new role as a Sky Sports pundit, Henry had said that Arsenal still need a "top, top" striker to win the Premier League title and that he did not think his old club could reach that height with Giroud leading their attack. He also said that Arsene Wenger was still four players short of a squad that could maintain a challenge against Chelsea.

Giroud, who has scored 18 goals this season despite missing several months with a foot injury, believes Arsenal are much closer.

"Hopefully if we can have less injuries, keep the same group and with maybe one or two new players, we are going to have a great season I am sure," said Giroud.

"We have to finish this one first, to get second and win the FA Cup would be a great season. I know we can still improve ourselves and that is what we have been doing since I signed for Arsenal. I am proud about it and pleased with that.

"I know if we keep our best players and this determination with the team spirit, I am sure we are going to join this championship race. It has been a few years since we finished second and if we can do it, we can see an improvement, which is great."

Of critics of his performances in the big games, Giroud said: "I used to say that mental strength is hugely important when you are a football player, and even more when you are a striker. Confidence is almost everything when you are striker, you cannot have any doubts about your qualities, you have to believe goals will come back, it is not because you missed one game that you lost your belief.

"You have to be faithful to your mind qualities, that is part of being a footballer, being strong in your head, that is more than half of the qualities of a football player."

After Sunday's goalless draw, Giroud also conceded that Chelsea will now win the Premier League. "I think it is over now to be honest," he said.

"They have to win just one game or maybe have a draw. So you have to be honest with yourself, they are 10 points ahead with five games to go. Boring? I don’t know. But there is the table who speaks for them. It is true maybe they are not (playing) the same game as us, but we are not going to change our game and I think they are not going to change their game. I think they are pleased with that and if they are champions, what can you say?"

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