Olivier Giroud

Oliver Giroud insists he has been able to handle the pressure of replacing Robin van Persie at Arsenal, with the striker finding his feet after a move from Montpellier last summer.

The France international was brought into the fray in north London around the same time that van Perise was in contract talks with Arsene Wenger; and though Giroud insisted he wouldn't replace the striker, within weeks of his move to the Gunners he became the hitman who would have to pick up the slack for the departing Dutchman.

And after scoring 17 goals this season, the 26 year old says it was tough trying to replace the man many believe singlehandedly got Arsenal through to Champions League qualification last season, but he shut out the critics and and reaped the rewards.

"When you replace Van Persie, people are demanding of you," Giroud told Le 10 Sport. "Criticism has not always been deserved but I'm focusing on what I have to do.

"I have progressed every day in training. I'm enjoying every day and I want to keep going.

"England? This is what I aspired to, with its atmosphere and intensity. Every weekend I play in big games - that's what makes the difference. It's really part of their culture."

Giroud's goals in this campaign, along with Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski's contributions, have put Arsenal in a very similar position to this time last season when van Persie was on the scene.

But their fight for a top four spot, while Arsene Wenger lets another season slip away without a trophy, has left the club reportedly considering building on their firepower in the summer to challenge the likes of the Manchester clubs and Chelsea.

A lack of depth is an issue which the Gunners have faced for a number of years now, but the goalscoring being shared between three strikers this season has certainly eased the reliance on one player to deliver, as was often the case with van Persie last season.