Bacary Sagna has praised Olivier Giroud's dedication and commitment, and as Arsenal FC prepare to welcome SSC Napoli on Tuesday, he says the striker's fine start to the season is testimony to the work ethic he has shown.
Team-mates at club and international levels, the French pair have formed a strong bond on and off the pitch. Defender Sagna says it can sometimes be difficult for forwards coming into a new team and adds that he is delighted Giroud has now settled at Arsenal since his move last year from Montpellier Hérault SC.
"He's a very good player, he is very physical, and in front of goal he finishes well," enthused the 30-year-old. "I think he's the top scorer with four [Premier League] goals and he can achieve more, but we need to give him time – I think he will improve even more and score even more.
"As a striker it's always difficult when you come into a new team because you have to get to know your partners. Robin van Persie had just left as the top scorer so everyone was expecting [Olivier] to score straight away, but he took a bit of time to settle in the team."
Giroud has scored five goals this term – including one in the UEFA Champions League play-offs – and his impressive form has helped propel the Gunners to the Premier League summit after six games. Sagna believes that success is largely thanks to the attack, led by Giroud and Aaron Ramsey. "If we see we are on top of the league it's because he made a lot – him and Ramsey and many other players," the full-back said. "He's a very important part of the team."
Since their surprise 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa FC on the first day of the season, Arsène Wenger's men have gone on to win eight of the next nine matches, including their UEFA Champions League Group F opener at Olympique de Marseille. Even the fixture they drew – 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion FC in the League Cup – Arsenal won on penalties.
"We were a bit disappointed because it's always a disappointment to lose the first game, especially at home," Sagna said. "We had a good pre-season so everyone was a bit down. But everyone was confident as well to keep their head up and to keep working hard to win the next game – and that's what we did.
"At the moment the team are very confident, we are very ambitious and we know the best way to win titles is to win game by game. I think we have the ability to do it but we have to stay focused until the end and must keep working hard."