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Arsenal new boy will never forget a “beautiful season” at Montpellier

Olivier Giroud (right) battles for the ball with Southampton's Maya Yoshida in Arsenal's 6-1 win. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA wire Olivier Giroud (right) battles for the ball with Southampton's Maya Yoshida in Arsenal's 6-1 win. Photo credit: Sean Dempsey/PA wire

Sunday, September 16, 2012
1:20 PM

Olivier Giroud will put friendships aside when he faces former side Montpellier and go all out to fire Arsenal to Champions League success next week.

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The France international netted 25 goals to finish joint top-scorer in Ligue 1 as La Paillade won the title for the first time in the club’s history.

However, after the 25-year-old joined the Gunners this summer in a reported £12 million deal, Giroud knows there can be no room for sentimentality when he heads back to the Stade de la Mosson.

“I spent a beautiful, wonderful season there last year when we were champions and won the title. It will be difficult for me to play against Montpellier, because there is a lot of emotion, but I will concentrate on the pitch and on the match and I will not speak with my friends,” Giroud told Arsenal Player.

“I am an Arsenal player and I want to score and to win this game for Arsenal. It will be my first game in the Champions League, so I want to win it.

“Of course we are playing against Montpellier, but it is an important game for Arsenal and I have to forget it is Montpellier for 90 minutes.”

Giroud continued: “It was an incredible season for us and one that I will never forget, I will always have great memories of my time at the club and the people and the fans.

“But now I am an Arsenal player and I am looking forward to this new stage in my career with this great club and I want to win with Arsenal.”

Giroud accepts his decision to leave rather than spearhead his old club’s Champions League campaign may not sit well with some of the home support.

“I hope to receive a good reception from the Montpellier fans, because I finished the top goal scorer there last season and worked hard for the title,” he said.

“I think the reaction will be good, but there may be some people who will boo maybe. It is always like this.”

Giroud added: “I want to say thank you to Montpellier because they gave me the possibility to play in the first division in France, join Arsenal and come to the Premier League, and then play in the Champions League, but they know that I recognise and appreciate the opportunity that Montpellier gave me.”

At 6ft 3ins, the France striker certainly adds a physical presence to the Gunners’ attack, which has also been bolstered by summer signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla to try to offset the departure of captain Robin van Persie.

However, should he find the net on Tuesday, despite the importance of a positive result for Arsenal, the forward will not go overboard.

“I want to score in every match, but if I score against Montpellier, I will keep the celebration small,” Giroud said.

“That is normal for anybody, for the club and Montpellier fans. It will be out of my respect to my old club.”

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