The Frenchman makes his first return to his former club, where he spent 2 years, scoring 21 goals in the league last season. Coincidentally, since losing the 6ft4” striker to the North Londoners this summer, Montpellier have lost three of their five opening Ligue 1 games.
The debutantes face strong opposition in Arsenal who breezed past Southampton to win 6-1 at the Emirates on Saturday. The on-form new-look team, complete with summer additions Santi Cazorla and Lucas Podolski, enter their 15th successive term in the Champion’s League.
However, Giroud has yet to score for the Gunners. The French international has found it more difficult to adapt to the English game compared to his Spanish and German counterparts, who have scored three Premier League goals between them in four games.
Giroud was quick to dismiss claims that he is living in the shadow of the departed former Arsenal captain and talisman Robin van Persie, whose boots, it seems, he has yet to fill:
“It’s true that Robin had a very, very good season last year but I’m not here to make everyone forget about him or to replace him" Said Giroud.
“I only want to take my place, gradually make my mark and win over the hearts of the fans. “
The Frenchman has asked the fans for time to settle and promises he will repay the faith in him to the club, the manager, and the fans in due course and, who could argue, there’s no better time than the present – especially when the next game is set to be a trip back down memory lane.
“In our way, we are two different players. He spent eight years here and had a very good season last year; I need a little adjustment time but I hope to make my mark as quickly as possible. And I hope to score a lot of goals.”
Giroud has staked his claim over the fixture but also aims to pay his respect to the fans and his former club: "I want to score in every match but if I score against Montpellier, I will keep the celebration small,'' he said.
image: © ronnie macdonald