FORMER Arsenal star Olivier Giroud has referred to the club as “my Gooners” as he backed Mikel Arteta’s men to finish in the top four this season. The AC Milan striker was a former team-mate of the Gunners gaffer at the Emirates, with the pair winning two FA Cup and as many Community Shields together.
In five-and-a-half-years in North London , the 35- year-old banged in 105 goals in 253 games before being sold to London rivals Chelsea in January 2018. Arsene Wenger decided to offload the Frenchman to make room for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal have failed to partake in Europe’s premier competition since Giroud departed, but after a strong start to this season, Giroud believes their exile will soon be coming to an end. Speaking to Sky Sports in Monza at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, Giroud opened up on Chelsea’ sacking of Thomas Tuchel before discussing Arteta’s side. He said:
“It’s part of football. It’s sad. I think Thomas has done a great job for Chelsea. “I’ve also been watching my Gooners. I think it’s going to be another interesting year for them.” Pressed on whether Arsenal will finish in the top four, he remarked: “Yes, definitely. I hope so.”
Arsenal fans were split on his “My Gooners” reference, as many pointed out the disrespect he showed the club in the aftermath of the 2019 Europa League final. Giroud broke the deadlock in Baku for the Blues in the West London outfit’s eventual 4-1 win over Arsenal , where he refused to celebrate. But once back on the team coach, he mockingly said “Thank you Arsenal” as he lifted the trophy to infuriate his once adoring supporters. Taking to Twitter to comment on Giroud’s recent interview, one fan posted:
“‘My Gooners’ says Giroud. Yes Oliver you was forced out, and yes us the fans were happy to see you go to get Auba. “And no I don’t blame you for going to Chelsea, but I DO blame you for the disrespect you showed on that video on the coach after the final you won. Another messaged: “‘My Gooners?’ Very interesting quote after the way you dunked on us in the team bus after the Europa League final, Mr Giroud.”
A third added: “The way Giroud says ‘my Gooners’ love the guy.” This person then tweeted: “He left on good terms. Fans need to stop this abuse. They wanted him to leave.” Meanwhile this supporter raged: “Never forget what he did after the EL final in Baku. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner doesn’t apply to him.”