Olivier Giroud believes he can cope with the physical burden that has been placed upon him, as Arsenal struggle for alternative options in the lead striker role. The France international made his 18th appearance for club and country of the season in Arsenal's 2-1 Champions League home defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday and he continued his encouraging form, embellishing an imposing performance with the home team's goal. He now has seven in 13 matches for Arsenal, plus two more for France.
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has had to lean heavily on Giroud due to injuries to Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Yaya Sanogo, although the 27-year-old's displays have made it difficult for him to be left out. Giroud has started in each of the club's eight Premier League games and five Champions League ties, including the two-legged play-off against Fenerbahce, while he has begun four of France's five matches this season.
Wenger rested him for Arsenal's only other fixture – the Capital One Cup win over West Bromwich Albion – and he is expected to stand him down for next Tuesday's tie in the competition against Chelsea at home. Nicklas Bendtner, who is back from the shadows, is in line to deputise against Chelsea, as he did at West Brom.
Wenger can ill afford to lose Giroud to injury, even if the prospect of him succumbing to wear and tear has surely increased with the action that he has seen over the past nine-and-a-half weeks. Wenger has tried to protect him by substituting him late on when he can but Giroud says that he is feeling good and positively thriving.
"Maybe I will have some rest next week, for the Capital One Cup … I will speak to the boss but I am used to playing a lot of games and I feel good with my body so, touch wood, no injuries," he said. "Anyway, I don't want to look for excuses as to why we lost to Dortmund. We lost but we have won almost every other game … there was just the defeat to Aston Villa and the draw at West Brom in the league. It's not the time to really be worried but we want to come back on Saturday and win at Crystal Palace."
Giroud stood to see his chances restricted as Wenger chased a big-name signing up front throughout the summer but when the window closed without one, the player enjoyed a boost. He had already impressed in pre-season and the new campaign's opening matches and, in some respects, his Arsenal career is following an established pattern.
He had previously spent two seasons at Montpellier and Tours and his second season at each club was markedly better than the first. At Montpellier, his goal return jumped from 13 to 21; at Tours, from nine to 21. In his first season at Arsenal after his £13m signing from Montpellier in the summer of last year, he scored 11 times in the league and six more in the various cups.
"We were really close to scoring the second goal against Dortmund but they kept going and they scored the winner on the counterattack," Giroud said. "It's a shame because we could have done much better. We finished the game better than them and that's why I'm really disappointed, because if we couldn't win the game, we didn't have to lose it. In the Champions League, it's like that – about the details."