Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud had hit back at criticism of his displays in his debut season in the Premier League.
The Frenchman always had a difficult task in replacing Robin Van Persie and has faced criticism from the Arsenal fans as well as the media at times this year.
Today Giroud has defended his performances in a report in the Times. The striker said: ““I replaced Van Persie and when you arrive at a big club like that, they [the fans] are very demanding towards you. The criticism has not always been deserved, but they push you on.”
Giroud could be the final day hero
His comments are fair enough. Giroud has scored 17 goals for Arsenal in all competitions and will be looking to add to that when he returns from suspension for the final game of the season at Newcastle.
It is likely that Arsenal will need to claim all three points on Tyneside to secure a Champions League place and Giroud will be hoping he can be the hero on the day.
Giroud also has 11 assists for Arsenal this year, which combines to his direct involvement in 28 goals for the Gunners. That is a decent return from a lone striker in his first season in the country so Giroud is right that the criticism he has received has been unfair.
Compares himself to Henry and Drogba
However, his next comments may be the cause of some ridicule for the Frenchman over the next few days. He compared his first season to that of Premier League superstars and legends Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba.
Giroud went on: “I’ve scored 17 goals and had 11 assists — that is better than Henry and Drogba in their first seasons. This is the quality I have. I have got better with this team and this staff. It is another level. I want to continue to improve.”
There is certainly no doubting Giroud’s confidence and fair play to him after an impressive first season in England.
He will no doubt continue to improve and may yet end up alongside the like of Henry and Drogba. But just for the record, Giroud has not outscored Henry in his first season in England with Arsenal’s record goalscorer getting 26 goals and 11 assists in all competitions in his first season.
So fair enough on Giroud for defending himself against unfair criticism, but comparing himself to two legends of the Premier League so early into his career in England was probably not a good move.
He now faces a career of trying to live up to the achievements and performances of two of the best strikers we have ever had here in England.