Olivier Giroud claims Arsenal’s convincing Community Shield victory over Manchester City proves they are ready to end their long wait to win the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger’s side wrapped up their pre-season preparations in style as goals from Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and a stunning effort from Giroud clinched a 3-0 victory over the reigning champions at Wembley on Sunday.
Bolstered by solid debuts from Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers, Wenger’s team out-played City from start to finish and France striker Giroud believes his side go into the new campaign as genuine contenders to win the title for the first time since the club’s famous ‘Invincibles’ in 2004.
“That is the target,” said Giroud. “Last year we did well until March and then we had a bad run after.
“We have a good quality squad and that is why I think we will be stronger this year.
“We wanted to come back and be stronger than last year. When our German World Cup players join us we will be stronger and hopefully stay that way until May.”
Giroud’s brilliant long-range strike was perfectly timed following the £30 million arrival of Sanchez from Barcelona.
Wenger lost patience with Giroud’s slump in form following some lurid reports about his private life last season and sometimes preferred raw rookie Yaya Sanogo as his main striker late in the campaign.
With Wenger highlighting Sanchez’s ability to play up front as well as on the flanks, Giroud could face a battle for his place, but he says there is room for both players in the starting line-up.
“I tried to give my best in the second half. I was not really ready for the Emirates Cup last week, but I knew I would play the second half today [Sunday],” said Giroud.
“I was feeling ok in the game and will be ready for the Crystal Palace match next week. It’s always great for a striker to score. I was man of the match and I will take it with pleasure.
Meanwhile, City defender Dedryck Boyata insists the absence of key players Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta cannot be used as an excuse for their tame defeat.
“We were missing players but we have a big enough squad that we should be able to deal with that and play our game,” said Boyata, who made a rare start in place of rested captain Kompany.
“It was a hard game and everyone is really down because we wanted to leave here with a win.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2014.