LONDON – Olivier Giroud is proud of the progress he and his Arsenal team-mates have made this season, despite drawing stinging criticism from Thierry Henry over the weekend.
The French forward has scored 17 goals in all competitions, recently scoring in six successive English Premier League games as Arsenal mustered an eight-match winning streak.
Yet Henry clearly remains unconvinced as to his compatriot’s ability and, in his capacity as a pundit on Sky television at Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea, suggested Giroud “does a job but you can’t win the league (with him)”.
“To get second in the league and win the FA Cup would be a great season,” said Giroud of their Cup final against Aston Villa.
“I know we can still improve ourselves and that is what we have been doing since I signed for Arsenal (in 2012).
“I am proud of what I’ve done and I’m pleased with that. I just want to carry on like that and I know if we keep our best players and this determination with the team spirit, I am sure we will join this title race next season.”
Arsenal have not finished second since 2005 but are in a great position to do so this campaign. They are third – tied on 67 points with second-placed Manchester City but with a game in hand.
“If we can do it, we can see an improvement, which is great,” added Giroud. “Next year, hopefully, we will have fewer injuries, keep the same group with maybe one or two new players, we will have a great season I am sure.”
The France international believes he can be an integral part of a side who challenge for the title.
“As for myself, in sport you have to question yourself every week and be ready in your head and you have to be at 100 per cent of determination if you want to keep going and win games,” he said. “You have to have faith in your own qualities, that is part of being a footballer: being strong in your head. That is more than half of the quality you need to be a football player.”