Giroud: Replacing Van Persie at Arsenal is demanding but I am focused

The striker has faced harsh comparisons with the Netherlands forward after his arrival at the Emirates Stadium but insists that he is enjoying the intensity of English football
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud admits that replacing Robin van Persie has been a demanding task but says that he is focusing on progressing at the Emirates Stadium.

The striker joined the Gunners last summer for £9.6 million after a breakout season in which the 26-year-old finished as top scorer in Ligue 1 with Montpellier, winning the title, and featured at Euro 2012 for the France national team.

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Giroud's 17 strikes in all competitions this season falls short of the 37 provided by Van Persie in his final season at the Emirates Stadium before his move to Manchester United but the Gunners star insists that he is enjoying north London despite some criticism.

"When you replace Van Persie, people are demanding of you," Giroud told Le 10 Sport. "Criticism has not always been deserved but I'm focusing on what I have to do.

"I have progressed every day in training. I'm enjoying every day and I want to keep going.

"England? This is what I aspired to, with its atmosphere and intensity. Every weekend I play in big games - that's what makes the difference. It's really part of their culture."

Giroud was sent off in the Gunners' clash against Fulham in April, picking up a three-game suspension, of which he has served two matches.

Having missed the games against Manchester United and QPR, he will also sit out the home match against Wigan but will be available for the final-day trip to face Newcastle as the Gunners look to secure a top-four finish.