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Roma's chance to bounce back

AS Roma
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Giroud debut 'better than Henry, Drogba'

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud believes he has had a better debut season in the Premier League than either Thierry Henry or Didier Drogba.

• Blog: What type of 'keeper?

Despite scoring 17 times in all competitions so far in his first campaign in England, France international Giroud has not been regarded as an unqualified success at the Emirates Stadium.

The 26-year-old did not open his league account for the Gunners until October, and his sporadic scoring form throughout the season was compounded by the far greater consistency in front of goal of the man he replaced, Robin van Persie.

"I replaced Van Persie and when you arrive at a big club like that, they [the fans] are very demanding towards you," Giroud said in The Times. "The criticism has not always been deserved, but they push you on.

Backing up his claim, Giroud said that he has outperformed the debut seasons of two Premier League greats in the form Arsenal's record goal scorer Henry and Chelsea legend Drogba.

"I've scored 17 goals and had 11 assists - that is better than Henry and Drogba in their first seasons," he added. "This is the quality I have. I have got better with this team and this staff. It is another level. I want to continue to improve."

Drogba scored 16 goals in his first season for Chelsea, although Henry's first year at Arsenal brought with it 26 goals and 11 assists for the Gunners.

Giroud is currently suspended following his red card in the 1-0 win at Fulham last month, and will be available again for the Gunners' final match of the season against Newcastle as the club push to cement a top-four place.

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