Olivier Giroud expects a warm welcome from the Arsenal fans at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and he insists he won’t celebrate if he scores.
Giroud left Arsenal in last year’s January transfer window, and he’s had a mixed time with Chelsea since then. In all competitions, he’s scored 10 goals and assisted seven from 42 appearances. He won the FA Cup (again) but has only scored once in the league this campaign, in defeat to Spurs.
He has the chance to add to that tally against Arsenal on Saturday, but he says he won’t celebrate if he manages to do so.
“No. I’m not like that,” Giroud said. “I respect everybody at the club. It will be special for me if I get the chance to play. If I score, I will respect everyone. This will be the first time I’m back at the Emirates Stadium. When Arsenal came to Stamford Bridge in August, I received a nice welcome from the Arsenal fans.
“They were singing my song as I was warming up and it was nice to hear. It was a good sensation, a good feeling. Arsenal fans don’t forget what you have done for the club, what you have achieved for the club.
“Obviously I’m a Chelsea player now, but I was at Arsenal for five-and-a-half years. They were amazing years for me, I improved a lot. I owe a lot to this club. It will be a great moment for me.”
Giroud also took the opportunity to reminisce a bit about his time with the Gunners. When asked about the highlight of his spell, he admitted it would have to be the trophies he won, but added that the scorpion kick against Crystal Palace was one of the best individual moments.
“All the cups I won,” he responded. “But the first thing I think of? The scorpion kick (against Crystal Palace in 2017). That was the best goal of my career, a great feeling.
“I also remember the good team spirit we had, the six trophies we won – three FA Cups and three Community Shields. It’s going to be a special moment for me to be back there again.”
Hopefully, the Arsenal fans give their former striker a good reception. He gave six years to the club, scoring over 100 goals, and only left when he was eventually replaced. The decision to join Chelsea was obviously a shame, but understandable, and at least it stopped Jose Mourinho and Alexis Sanchez lifting a trophy with Manchester United.
At the same time, it’d also be nice if Giroud doesn’t get the chance to choose whether to celebrate or not. Arsenal have a good record against Chelsea at home in recent seasons, with any luck they can keep it going.