- Premier League
Fourth is enough for Arsenal, says Giroud
Olivier Giroud says that if Arsenal finish fourth in the Premier League they will have had a successful season.
Arsene Wenger's team enjoyed impressive form during the first half of the season, leading the way in the Premier League but have faded away and been forced to lower their sights.
The FA Cup final against Hull next month represents Arsenal last chance to win some silverware this season but striker Giroud claims fourth place and the European qualification that goes with it is the priority.
"There are three league matches left that are all as important as the cup final," Giroud said. "They are important because of fourth place and the Champions League. We have closed the book on the FA Cup, we will open it again on May 17.
"If we finish fourth, we have not lost anything and it will be a good season. I think that if we finish fourth, that will be a successful season. And the FA Cup, if we win, would be a bonus. To finish fourth is almost crucial for the club."
A win against Newcastle on Monday night would give Arsenal a four-point lead over fourth-place rivals Everton with two matches remaining in a period when Wenger said managers feel like they are playing "Russian roulette".
But the claim that fourth is enough to represent success for Wenger's team has been a moot point. Giroud's stance is the type which prompted Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to brand Arsenal's manager a "specialist in failure" earlier this season and cause disquiet among fans.
"At a club like Arsenal, there is a level of public expectation," the striker said. "I know some fans were unhappy with our defeat against Everton because that was a match against rivals for fourth but we responded well in the next game and showed our strength of character.
"It is essential to respond collectively to show we are going in the right direction. If we finish fourth, and if we can also win the FA Cup, it will be a good season. We will have a trophy that we have waited for.
"Yes, it is true, there was a lot of expectation this year, because we were first for a long time, but unfortunately we had injuries, but we will go again next year."
Giroud was also asked about Wenger's future, with the manager's contract set to expire at the end of the season.
He added: "It is not for me to say if clubs are right to change their coach or not. I am very happy with the boss today.
"We will see if he prolongs his contract, but we do not talk about it."
Giroud, who last week said he would consider signing a new deal and ruled out an exit this summer, has held talks with Wenger about his future after being linked with a move to Roma.
"The Roma link is flattering, as I think Rudi Garcia is a good coach," he said. "But I want to improve here and have my future here. I had a long discussion with the boss, he is someone who you can talk to, it's important for a player and good for morale to talk to him."