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Thursday 8 December 2016

Giroud focused on putting Arsenal team first

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud. Pic: Reuters / Stoyan Nenov
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud. Pic: Reuters / Stoyan Nenov

Olivier Giroud insists he will put Arsenal's push for silverware ahead of his own d esire to hold down a first-team place - but believes his time will come.

The 30-year-old has yet to start a game for the Gunners this season but is in line to break that run when they face Ludogorets in Bulgaria tonight looking to seal a safe passage into the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Giroud came off the bench against Sunderland on Saturday with the game level, and he scored with his first two touches, his maiden goals of the campaign, to help Arsenal keep pace with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

But, with Alexis Sanchez also bagging a brace in the 4-1 win and flourishing since being moved into the central striker's position, Giroud's chances could be limited over the course of the campaign.

Despite that, the former Montpellier player feels he will get his opportunity after a frustrating opening to the season as he prepares for his first start, with Arsenal able to qualify if they win in Sofia and Basle fail to beat Paris St Germain in Switzerland.

"I'm just concentrating on what I have to do on the pitch. My time will come," he said.

"Obviously I'd prefer to be on the pitch, but I came back late from the Euros. I was not fit enough to play first and then, unfortunately, after I had an annoying injury I needed to take my time to come back as soon as possible. I'm very pleased to come back now."

A niggling toe injury had limited Giroud's minutes, but he did not help himself as he was sent off in the opening Champions League draw at PSG in September.

He has had to watch on as Sanchez has been in top form - but he is currently only concerned about how the team is faring on the pitch, having not lost in any competition since an opening weekend defeat to Liverpool.

"In every big club you have a lot of good strikers, with different qualities," he said.

"We (he and Sanchez) can play together, we can play up front, or on our own. The team is doing very well, from the start of the season.

"I hope to come back and work hard at training. But I'm happy as long as we win. We have a very good team cohesion. I'm not questioning myself too much about my place. I'm focused on the team."

ludogorets v arsenal (live bt sport 3 ko 7.45)

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