Speaking to the press, Arsenal and France striker Olivier Giroud gave his opinion on a variety of topics, from the team’s performances this season to the treatment of the manager by fans. The Frenchman, who has only just returned from a lengthy injury spell on the sidelines, has slotted back into the team with ease, and scored a screamer of a goal against United during our 2-1 losing effort at the Emirates.
After that, Arsenal went on a run of three successive wins but all the good work was derailed by a defeat to Stoke City. The 3-2 defeat exposed the frailties in the team and also led to some of the harshest criticism of Wenger so far this season. Giroud however said that the manager does not deserve to be treated that way, while admitting that the team were at fault for the result.
Talent is not sufficient and every team needs to fight to be competitive. We had a lack of commitment and we have seen it on the video and we made mistakes like we are young players. We have seen it but we want to learn from them and not do it again.
We know that we are strong, we have a good squad, that we have a lot of qualities in the squad but without sometimes commitment. And maybe when you are not at 100 per cent sometimes, then you pay.
We heard the people, the supposed Arsenal fans criticise some of us, especially the boss.
It was sad. I’m not sure he deserved it. It’s always like that when you lose a game. You have to question yourself of course. But you can’t say we have to change everything. He is the man of this situation and we aren’t even wondering if he is or not.
Giroud went on to say that he understands the fans’ anger and the team realizes that there are big expectations of them. He also said that he believed the majority of fans understood that this was just a rough patch and that it would get better soon.
Of course, they want us to win our games. We play for Arsenal and we are a big team and they quite demanding with us and we understand that they are disappointed as well. That’s why we want to show our strength and our reaction.
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We will show solidarity and answer on the pitch. It gives us more strength to fight together. We are a pack and when someone attacks the pack everyone wants to defend our interest and our team-mates, our boss. We are all together.
It was a really bad start at Stoke, especially when you are aware that we’re going to have a lot of duels in the air. It’s even more disappointing but for fans and for us, we will bounce back as soon as possible. We have a great opportunity to do it at home against Newcastle. We want to reach the top four as soon as possible.
He also dismissed reports that said that Arsene Wenger was not assertive enough in training.
It’s not because he signed me that he is going to be kind with me. When I play well, he tells me but when I play s*** he tells me as well. There is no special treatment.
And the striker went on to say that the team were not giving up hope in the title race and that they believed that with a run of strong results anything is possible. He insisted that the club had the quality to mount a comeback and remain competitive on multiple fronts, and that all the players wanted to win more trophies.
It’s never too late because there’s two thirds of the season to go, even if Chelsea did a fantastic start, Man City as well. We need to improve on certain points and that’s why we need to focus on our game and come back in the next one.
We’ve kept our best players for two or three years since I came. The fans wanted some more top players and the boss heard them and tried to bring some top players like Mesut (Ozil) and Alexis (Sanchez) and the other signings. We all want to reach a high performance level and win some more trophies.
That’s why it is a great beginning of a great story with the FA Cup win last year and the Community Shield. And this year we need time to build a great team but in the squad we have the quality and the quantity so I’m not worrying about our comeback.
Last season, Giroud was a first team regular, partly because he had no real competition for the spot. This season however, he has to battle for his place in the first team with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, the latter of whom was bought specifically to replace Giroud after he suffered an ankle injury against Everton. So far, with the large number of injuries in the squad, all of them are able to secure regular playing time. But when the likes of Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere return, then it will become a battle for the single striker berth on the team.
But Giroud shrugged off such concerns, saying that the team came first:
I’m not worried about my place. It’s not about my place but what each player can bring to the team.
If I’m in good form I will play I’m sure and if I’m not doing well, I won’t play. It’s about what you can bring to the team, what you can bring to the big machine. I think we complement each other and we will all have a good role to play this season. We just need to be together and to face difficulties together.
It is good to have the Frenchman back in the side and so positive. He offers us a solid physical presence and aerial ability up front, something that we have been lacking of late. Also, with the confidence and enthusiasm he has, he could help to buoy up the whole team. Quite a few players have looked unsure and hesitant this season, and we need everyone fully dedicated and committed if we are to seriously challenge for the top spots.