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Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud would love to haunt old club Arsenal

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‘My blood is blue now’: Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud would love to haunt old club Arsenal in the Europa League final

  • Olivier Giroud insists he bleeds blue as he prepares for Europa League final 
  • The Chelsea striker is determined to impress against his old club Arsenal 
  • Giroud stressed that he’s happy at Chelsea and is in talks over new one-year deal

The little twists of fate are not lost on Olivier Giroud as he prepares for Baku and an end-of-season reunion with his former club.

Giroud was forced from Arsenal at a time when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived and overloaded the numbers competing for the one place up front in Arsene Wenger‘s team.

‘I was going to the boss and telling him we can change,’ he said. ‘I would say, ‘We can put two strikers up front’, but Mesut Ozil used to play No 10, like a second striker, and I was OK with that.’

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud wants to haunt his old club Arsenal in the Europa League final

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud wants to haunt his old club Arsenal in the Europa League final

Giroud decided it was best to move on and Chelsea paid £18million. Eighteen months later, he is Maurizio Sarri’s single striker, trusted to lead the line in the Europa League if rarely in the Premier League, where Gonzalo Higuain has been preferred.

The Frenchman has been prolific in Europe, with 10 goals and three assists, making him the top striker in the competition ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic.

Eintracht are out, beaten on penalties by Chelsea in the semi-finals and Jovic, who is closing in on a £52.4m move to Real Madrid, can score and assist no more.

Giroud still has one to play, the big one against Arsenal, his former club who are now managed by Unai Emery and have been propelled to the final in Baku by seven goals against Valencia from the £100m twin strike force of Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

‘It seems things are different,’ smiled Giroud. ‘Sometimes they play two up front. When I was there it never happened.’

Giroud admits it will be 'tough' to play against Arsenal but is looking forward to the occasion

Giroud admits it will be 'tough' to play against Arsenal but is looking forward to the occasion

Giroud admits it will be ‘tough’ to play against Arsenal but is looking forward to the occasion

The prospect of duelling for a trophy with Arsenal, where he spent five and a half years, is sweet for the 32-year-old.

‘I always like playing against my old teams,’ said Giroud. ‘It’s going to be tough, and it could be painful if it’s not going the right way, but you have to put the feelings and memories aside.

‘I enjoyed the years I spent there. It has been a big part of my career, my first club in England and it will always be special, but now I feel my blood is blue. The same as the national team, blue suits me well.

‘I settled in quickly. I felt like part of the family straight away. I knew a few of the players and I’m a sociable person, I always try to communicate. It wasn’t difficult to integrate. I always see it as a new challenge. 

Giroud enjoyed his time at Arsenal but stressed Chelsea are more obsessed with winning

Giroud enjoyed his time at Arsenal but stressed Chelsea are more obsessed with winning

Giroud enjoyed his time at Arsenal but stressed Chelsea are more obsessed with winning

‘I couldn’t have hoped for it to be better. And now I want to win my second trophy with Chelsea. To finish as top scorer and help my team. Our target is to win a trophy every season and this is the last chance.’

This, he believes, is where you find the key cultural difference between the two London rivals, cast at opposite ends of football’s identity spectrum since the turn of the century. One obsessed with winning and the other obsessed with beautiful football, although the lines have become blurred by the end of the Wenger era and Sarri’s arrival at Stamford Bridge.

‘The main difference is Arsenal always tried to give the chances to the young players,’ said Giroud. ‘It felt like more players formed at the club could have the opportunity to play. Maybe you would get more time at Arsenal. They would be more patient.

‘At Chelsea you have to be ready quickly because in terms of trophies it has been the best club in England for the last 10 years.

‘You don’t have time at Chelsea and when you are young it is quite difficult to find your place. You can see we have a very good academy producing very good players and a few of them are in the first team and that is a good example for the future generation.

‘I don’t want to kill the dreams of these young Chelsea players. They are very talented, but it makes sense because Chelsea invest more in every transfer window and they buy more top players in the world who are more experienced.

‘I am just being honest. People who know football and the Premier League and these two clubs, they know Arsene Wenger could not spend too much money. It was the philosophy of the club and because of that — or thanks to that — he would give the opportunity to young players.’

Giroud stated that young players at Chelsea don't have much time to succeed

Giroud stated that young players at Chelsea don't have much time to succeed

Giroud stated that young players at Chelsea don’t have much time to succeed

Giroud with his son Evan at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea's game against Watford

Giroud with his son Evan at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea's game against Watford

Giroud with his son Evan at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea’s game against Watford

Giroud won’t say which method he prefers but he is thriving in Chelsea’s demanding environment. Within six months of his transfer, he won the FA Cup, which he won three times at Arsenal, and kept Lacazette out of the team as France won the World Cup.

Having returned from last week’s trip to the United States to play in the Final Whistle on Hate game, he is finalising contract talks.

His original deal is about to expire but Chelsea want to exercise their option for one more year and, with Higuain set to be sent back to Juventus after the Europa League final, Giroud has been convinced to stay.

‘I feel very happy at the club,’ said Giroud. ‘Maybe I need a bit more game-time but I won’t give up. That’s my mentality. That’s how I’m made. It’s not sorted yet but we are talking about another year.’

The Frenchman insists that he is happy at Chelsea and is in talks regarding a new one-year deal

The Frenchman insists that he is happy at Chelsea and is in talks regarding a new one-year deal

The Frenchman insists that he is happy at Chelsea and is in talks regarding a new one-year deal



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Arsenal star's agent admits he neared surprise Gunners exit – 'There was the possibility'

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The Uruguay international proved a real hit at last year’s World Cup in Russia, earning a move to the Emirates Stadium from Sampdoria.

He got off on the right note too, scoring against Tottenham in the north London derby to instantly prove a hit with supporters.

But as the season went on, his form dipped amid claims he was missing Italy and struggling to adapt to life in England off the field.

Now the player’s agent Pablo Bentancur has admitted that the pair discussed a return to Serie A in months gone by.

“There was the possibility. Giampaolo is in the heart of Lucas,” Bentancur told TMW.

“But Arsenal said he had no intention of selling the boy.

“Lucas is fine, the club are happy with him. This will be the year of consecration. With the Arsenal shirt.

“Milan is Milan, it will always be an important team, even if today it has some economic problems.”

AC Milan were the club most serious about signing Torreira if he became available.

That’s after his former boss at Sampdoria, Marco Giampaolo moved to the San Siro.

Speculation was ignited after the midfielder spoke to press at the Copa America while on international duty.

“I think it was better in Italy. England is a totally different world, a very large country,” he said.

“The language [barrier] has cost me, to be able to relate with my peers and with the people. It is very difficult when you can’t have dialogue.

“And so is the climate. You go out in the morning and it is cloudy, you arrive late to your home and it is cloudy.

“It is strange a little bit, the sun, the more of us that we are here and we are accustomed to having always or almost always the sun. But as the years pass, I’m going to be adapting.”

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Video and Photos: Liverpool training ahead of Arsenal game

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Liverpool have been training at their Melwood base as they step up their preparations for this weekend’s Premier League clash with Arsenal. The…

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Ex-Arsenal man Emmanuel Frimpong reveals his disdain for Samir Nasri after series of bust-ups

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‘Even if he gives me five billion dollars, I will still not like him’: Emmanuel Frimpong reveals his disdain for Samir Nasri and the full story behind his bust-ups with former Arsenal team-mate

  • Emmanuel Frimpong has revealed he does not like Samir Nasri at all
  • The two former team-mates had a series of bust-ups on and off the pitch
  • Frimpong said their problems started after Nasri blamed a defeat on him
  • He said Nasri was a bully and didn’t understand responsibilities as a senior player

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has lifted the lid on his personal feud with Samir Nasri.

The pair were involved in several altercations on and off the pitch down the years during times when they were both team-mates and opponents.

Frimpong’s relationship with Nasri first became fractured after the Frenchman blamed him for Arsenal’s defeat against Liverpool back in August 2011.

Emmanuel Frimpong has revealed his disdain for former Arsenal team-mate Samir Nasri

Emmanuel Frimpong has revealed his disdain for former Arsenal team-mate Samir Nasri 

The midfielder, then 19, was making only his second Premier League appearance for the Gunners, but was sent off in the 70th minute for a second bookable offence with the score goalless. Liverpool made the most of their numerical advantage and went on to win the game 2-0.

‘Nobody needed to tell me that what I did was stupid,’ Frimpong told the Athletic. ‘After the game, everybody came into the changing room and Arsene [Wenger] was quiet. Then Nasri basically stood up in front of everybody and said we lost the game because of me.

‘OK, I can understand that, but I was thinking, “Why would somebody — especially me playing, I think that was like my second game — why would any professional do that to a young player in that kind of moment?”‘

Nasri blamed Frimpong for Arsenal's loss against Liverpool in August 2011 after he was sent off

Nasri blamed Frimpong for Arsenal's loss against Liverpool in August 2011 after he was sent off

Nasri blamed Frimpong for Arsenal’s loss against Liverpool in August 2011 after he was sent off

But the friction between the two didn’t end there. Tempers reached boiling point again when Jack Wilshere wished Nasri good luck on his new venture after he left Arsenal to sign for Manchester City just months after that defeat against Liverpool.

Frimpong responded on Twitter: ‘Pffffff come on Jack.’ The tweet had angered Nasri to the point he rang up Alex Song and asked to speak to Frimpong after a training session at Arsenal’s London Colney base. 

‘I took the phone off Alex and it was Nasri on the phone threatening me, telling me that when he sees me, this that,’ Frimpong adds. ‘I told him, “I’m not one of the players that’s afraid of you. If you want us to sort it out as men, we can sort it out as men”.

‘To be honest, at that time when he left Arsenal, I could tell him what I actually thought about him because he wasn’t there so I could basically let him know my feelings. So I just told him that I don’t like him, I don’t respect him and I will never respect him as a professional player.’ 

The two clashed during Arsenal and Man City's League Cup quarter-final in November 2011

The two clashed during Arsenal and Man City's League Cup quarter-final in November 2011

The two clashed during Arsenal and Man City’s League Cup quarter-final in November 2011

Nasri is pictured pointing to the tunnel as the two exchange verbals at the end of the match

Nasri is pictured pointing to the tunnel as the two exchange verbals at the end of the match

Nasri is pictured pointing to the tunnel as the two exchange verbals at the end of the match

The two lined up against each other in November 2011 and repeatedly clashed in an ill-tempered League Cup quarter-final tie before exchanging verbals at the end of the match. Frimpong revealed Nasri also confronted him in the tunnel prior to kick-off.

‘During the game, he told me he could buy me,’ Frimpong adds. ‘That’s how stupid this guy is. He probably could then because he had millions, but that’s no respect.

‘That’s what happened. I feel like he was a bully, I feel like he didn’t know his responsibilities as a senior player to be able to help younger players.

 ‘I have always had so much respect for senior players. You can ask Aaron Ramsey, you can ask Jack Wilshere. I never disrespected anybody. But for me, the truth is I’ve never liked Nasri and I will never, ever like this guy. Even if he gives me five billion dollars, I will still not like him.’



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