Giroud - I didn't want to be bullied in England

Olivier Giroud has had time to reflect on his first season with Arsenal but he came into the league with some genuine fears.

Those fears relate to the physical side of English football and Giroud has spoken about how much of a challenge it was getting used to the pace and aggression of the English game, remarkable as he’s not exactly a small buy.

Giroud has transformed himself into the power figure in the Arsenal attack. Other players are better when it comes to creativity and exploiting space but there are few better in terms of pinning the opposition defence back.

“I had to adapt mostly to the challenges in the game - after a few weeks, the fitness coaches knew me better and told me that I had to work on my strengths, try to be more dynamic and work on how I hold the ball,” he told Arsenal’s website.

It suggests that he had preconceptions of the game in England and the physical way that some defenders like to rough up players who have no Premier League experience, trying to make a name for themselves in the league for the first time.

It’s understandable that he could be wary because he came to England with a basic understanding of the language and culture and he deserves credit for tackling his fears head on.

He was always going to be a target in this Arsenal team because of his prolific record with Montpellier which earned him the transfer in the first place.

However, it’s difficult to understand why he could be worried about being bullied by the opposition defence when he’s such a tall and physical player. He’s always been able to use those two aspects of his physical nature to his advantage.

“I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to develop my shoulders and my arms to protect the ball well. I understood that I had to play more with my body here than in France. It has paid off,” he added.

The challenge now for Giroud is next season and how he can reinvent himself and also keep other players from taking his central attacking position.

He needs to reinvent himself because other teams have now had first hand experience of how he plays and they can think of more effective ways to keep him quiet during games.

He’s also got to deal with the pressure coming from Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and possibly another top high profile striker in order to keep himself as the primary striker at the club next season.

He seems like a genuine and honest player, ready to take on his weaknesses and dispel misconceptions anyone has over his game and the way he plays.

An improvement on 11 Premier League goals definitely isn’t out of the question.

Is Grioud now Arsenal’s target man? Is he a better player than that?

image: © ronnie macdonald

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch