Arsenal's main man up front reveals why his second season has been so much more productive than his debut campaign last year.
'I think technically I had it before, maybe I progressed because we have worked on it a lot in training but it is also [because of] confidence,' said Olivier Giroud, one of the most in-form and effective strikers in the Premier League this season.
The 6ft 4in Gunner, a largely unheralded signing when Arsene Wenger acquired him following a £12.8m transfer from Montpellier, had a decent debut season, scoring 11 goals and providing three assists in 2,323 minutes of Premier League football (efficiency rate of one goal/assist every 165 minutes of action).
That efficiency rate has shot up this year, however, as five goals and four assists in 774 minutes equal a return of a goal or assist once every 86 minutes. He is therefore now more efficient in front of goal than Manchester United's Robin van Persie, for example (who has a return of one goal or assist every 107 minutes).
On how he's managed to improve his attacking contributions this semester, Giroud told Arsenal Player: 'I did well from the start of the season, I had good preparation with the team - instead of last season when I wasn’t here from the beginning - and I scored early in the pre-season games.'
Is it a question of confidence then? 'The boss made me feel good and that is why I feel good and try to improve every day. It is all about confidence I think.'
Giroud has all the look of a predatory, six-yard box poacher. An old school number nine due to his frame, build and height, however, he is more than that and very much a new-school versatile forward who can round-off team moves while assisting his team-mates.
This is also an area he has improved on from last season where he created 34 chances in the league (one every 68 minutes) compared to 15 chances banked already in the 2013-14 campaign (one every 51 minutes) and is a greater ratio than Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero (11 chances in 589 minutes, or one every 53 minutes).
Giroud's unselfishness was punctuated when he proved crucial in the build-up to Jack Wilshere's highlight reel goal struck against Norwich City on October 19. He said: 'It is a great thing because the goal was shown all over the world - I am proud of it.
'It is a quality when you are a striker to not always be greedy and when you have a team-mate well placed on the pitch, in a good position, you have to assist him.
'Strikers are judged on their goals but we must also [provide] assists and that is what I try to do: help my team-mates. It is easy to play with people like Jack, Mesut [Ozil], Santi [Cazorla] or Tomas [Rosicky] - all my offensive team-mates. We have good relationships on the pitch and when we play one-touch football - it's a pleasure.
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'We try to do it in every game, and when we succeed it is fantastic.'
Giroud's fans will be hoping that one-touch aesthetically-delighting brand of football will be on display against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, as Arsenal look to bounce back from midweek defeat to Chelsea in the League Cup.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald