Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is confident he will return stronger from his three-month injury lay-off and can forge a dynamic strike partnership with England forward Danny Welbeck.
Giroud, 28, has recovered more quickly than expected since suffering a freak broken leg when challenging for the ball in the closing stages of the 2-2 draw against Everton on August 23.
Manager Arsene Wenger revealed the France international could even be in contention for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League showdown against Manchester United, although next weekend’s trip to West Brom is perhaps a more realistic target given the player’s lengthy absence.
The recruitment of Welbeck from United on transfer deadline day has looked a sound investment, with the 23-year-old having scored five goals in 12 appearances while Giroud continued his recovery.
Giroud, though, believes rather than be in direct competition, the pair have the technical ability to develop a clinical partnership.
“After an injury of three months, you need to have a good rhythm back – you think you are fit, but the competition is everything. I will need a couple of games to be 100 per cent, but mentally and physically I am close,” Giroud told Press Association Sport.
“It was the first time for me I have been out for three months, but it was good for my mentality, because I feel I will be back stronger, with more determination – and the doctor told me even my bone will be stronger.”
Giroud, who plundered 22 goals last season, added: “I think we needed (to buy) another striker, especially when my injury came.
“Danny has done really well up to now, but I am not worried that we have bought Danny.
“I think we will have a good understanding on the pitch and can play together, that is the main thing, we are quite complementary.
“It is a plus for us, and it will be good for the competition within the group, we will give our best every week.
“We have our best years in front of us as a team, with the quality we have in the squad, now we have the quantity also, that is why I cannot wait to come back.”
Giroud has been a frustrated spectator from the sidelines, unable to help his team-mates as Arsenal struggled to deliver regular results, despite the impressive form of summer signing Alexis Sanchez.
The France forward, who is helping promote the new 4K Microtising campaign from Sony, believes Arsenal must learn to rediscover their composure once the hard work of getting control of a game has been done.
“We need consistency, but we also need to know how to close out the game after winning it, like against Anderlecht and Swansea away,” said Giroud.
“I could not believe what I was watching (against Anderlecht), that is one of our weaknesses, we don’t know how to close the game when we are winning.
“We must just stay at the back and not take too much risk, I don’t know where it comes from, but we need to improve ourselves in this way.
“Tactically, we all defend together, we are all attacking together, so it is all about the balance of our team, you cannot just target the defenders.
“Maybe we need more support for the defence when you are winning the game, just stay and don’t go (forward) any more.”
Arsenal sit sixth ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Manchester United, but Giroud has not given up yet on mounting a title challenge through 2015.
“It is only November, there are still a lot of games left to play, the main thing is to take maximum points against the big teams,” he said.
“Chelsea have got a good advantage, but you never know.”
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