Exactly one year ago tomorrow, the Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud and his Montpellier team mates won a crucial game against a relegated Auxerre team to win the club the French Ligue 1 title for the first time in it’s history. With PSG breathing down their necks, they were under huge pressure but got the win they needed.
Giroud is facing a similar situation at Newcastle today, although unfortunately it is not for the title. Arsenal will ensure they win the `Wenger cup` today if they beat Newcastle United. The Magpies, theoretically, have nothing to play for, but nobody expects an easy ride. St. James’ Park is always a hard place to go and they will want to put on a show for the home fans. Mike Ashley has also offered a bonus of £1 million to the backroom staff if they beat the Gunners today.
However, the players will not get a special bonus and there were only two British players in the team for the last game, so they will not be so caught up in the Geordie passion or feel a special need to win. Giroud certainly thinkls that Newcastle will not be quite as tough an opposition as if they were fighting for something.
“Now we have to do the job and keep focused on our qualities and our game,” said the striker. “Never mind if they are a little bit relieved, they will maybe play without pressure. I’m not sure but I think it’s better for us.”
Most of the Arsenal team are not used to winning anything, although Gervinho helped his Lille side to a league and cup double two seasons ago, but they are used to the pressure and have been there before and got the T-shirt. Maybe Giroud’s experience of last year with Montpellier, plus his significant contribution on the pitch, will help Arsenal to keep the run going for one more match, condemning Tottenham to another year in the Europa League into the bargain.