By Nick Ames

Olivier Giroud is satisfied with his progress as he nears half a season as a Gunner - but believes he can still do much more.

The French striker has scored seven goals this season, including four during a purple patch in November, and has steadily won supporters’ affections with some excellent leading of the line.

He believes that his breakthrough strikes against Coventry and West Ham a couple of months ago set his season off and running.

Giroud told the official matchday programme:  “At the beginning of the season I felt good, but Euro 2012 meant that the preparations had been a bit different for some of us. It meant that I wasn’t completely ready for the start of the Premier League and had to work in a different way.

“Things improved when I scored my first goal, although I had no doubts that if I worked hard in training I could always score. I felt the support of the fans, my team-mates and the staff here, and that was really important to me.

"Getting off the mark against Coventry was a relief, and scoring at West Ham was another.

“That was really the beginning of my season - my ‘good debut’ if you like - and it launched things for me. After that I succeeded in playing well, scoring and making assists, and if I look at my ratio of minutes to goals it’s pretty good.

"It’s been an interesting few months but now I want to do more. I’m an Arsenal player and, rightly, expectations are high.”

A hectic Christmas schedule, which begins in earnest soon, is part of any foreign player’s integration into the English game. Giroud reveals, though, that he’s already well acquainted with how this country celebrates the festive season.

“It’s not actually my first time - I was here over Christmas two years ago, for a holiday, and enjoyed it very much despite the cold weather!” he said.

“The atmosphere was great, and you could see how important this time of year is to English people. My wife and I bought a tree and plenty of decorations the other day, so we’ll be ready! Central London looks amazing with its lights and decorations at the moment, and it’s lovely to see.

“Of course we have a game on Boxing Day so there won’t be a holiday this year, but my family will come over to stay and we’ll celebrate together. Family is important to me, so I’ll be glad to see them.”

You can read more from Olivier in the matchday programme for the West Brom match. Click here to subscribe

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7 Dec 2012