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Oct 9, 2012

Giroud buoyed by maiden Gunners goal

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud believes he has now been given his belated 'baptism' as a Premier League striker after breaking his scoring duck in England's top flight with a goal at West Ham on Saturday.

• Blog: Giroud more than big striker

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger had confirmed that his summer signing was suffering a dip in confidence as he awaited his maiden goal after a summer move from Montpellier, but the hit-man clearly feels as if his early nerves will now evaporate.

Giroud told French radio station RMC he hopes to continue making an impact for Arsenal after scoring the crucial goal in his side's 3-1 victory at Upton Park.

"It sounds a bit silly, but seeing the ball in the back of the net was something I was waiting for in the Premier League," he said. "At last I've been baptised, I hope there are many more goals to come.

"Obviously I was expecting things to be a bit complicated because the Premier League is of a very high standard, if not the highest. You have to adapt and even Thierry Henry took some time to score his first goal. It changes quite a lot of things for a striker, playing at the highest level for a big club like Arsenal, you have to be decisive."

Giroud admits he has felt the pressure of stepping into the void left at Arsenal by the summer departure of the free-scoring Robin van Persie to Manchester United, but he hopes the goals will start to flow for him now that he has got off the mark.

"Van Persie is now gone, there are many expectations about me," he said. "It has taken me a little time to adapt, but I know my qualities and hopefully the goals will come for me now. It is clear that this goal is important for me. Especially before the international break, it gives me confidence."

Meanwhile, boss Wenger is convinced Giroud will now emerge as a star turn in his side after he got his name on the Premier League scoring charts for the first time.

"He will be boosted by that goal, but we never had any question about Olivier's qualities," stated Wenger. "It takes some players a little time to adapt to a new league, but Giroud will do well for us."

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