Olivier Giroud insists he will be ready to fire Arsenal to glory from the start of the new Barclays Premier League season.
The France international looked laboured in the Gunners' 1-0 Emirates Cup defeat to Monaco on Sunday - a result which saw Valencia win the pre-season tournament.
Having seen fellow forwards Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell light up the Emirates on Saturday, with the former grabbing four goals in a 5-1 victory over Benfica, Giroud's performance was nowhere near as eye-catching.
The 27-year-old scored once in five World Cup appearances for France as Les Bleus lost to eventual winners Germany at the quarter-final stages.
And, although he admits he is struggling for fitness following an extended season, Giroud believes he will be much sharper in time for Sunday's Community Shield clash with Manchester City.
Possible Arsenal starting XI for the Community Shield v Manchester City
Possible Arsenal starting XI for the Community Shield v Manchester City
1/9 Mathieu Debuchy
Debuchy arrived as the replacement for the departed-Bacary Sagna, who joined Manchester City on a free transfer at the end of the season. Despite being favoured by France coach Didier Deschamps at the World Cup, many Arsenal fans felt Sagna enjoyed one of his best season’s before his exit, and Debuchy will have a lot to live up to if he is to justify his £12m move to the Gunners.
2/9 Calum Chambers
Despite signing for the club this summer, Chambers looks set to start the Community Shield given that Per Mertesacker is yet to return to the club. The 19-year-old impressed during the Emirates Cup, but the Premier League champions will pose a major threat to the young English talent.
3/9 Laurent Koscielny
The Frenchman formed a consistent partnership with Mertesacker last season, but his ability to play alongside Vermaelen still remains in the balance are a string of less than convincing showings over the past two years. Nevertheless, he has developed in to one of the key players among the current Arsenal squad, and has shown an eye for a goal when he is allowed to get in the box at set-pieces.
4/9 Kieran Gibbs
Gibbs overcame a number of long-term injuries to solidify his place as Arsenal’s first-choice left-back, seeing off the challenge of first Andre Santos and now Nacho Monreal. Hopwever, he is yet to reach the performances of his predecessors Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy, although at 24 years old he still has time to nurture his talent and rival Luke Shaw for the England left-back berth in the years to come. He brings a calmness to the Arsenal left flank, which tends to look rather exposed when he is absent.
5/9 Jack Wilshere
Arsenal’s golden boy has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons this summer, and he faces a potentially career defining season ahead of him that could determine his Arsenal future. With Aaron Ramsey enjoying his best season to date last year that saw him win the club’s player of the season award, Wilshere needs to push on or face being replaced in the first team. A number of injuries have not helped his cause, but a good start to the season could really help him cement his place for both club and country.
6/9 Alexis Sanchez
Much like Özil, a lot will be expected to come from Sanchez on the basis that the Gunners shelled out – by their standards – a significant fee to sign him from Barcelona. Sanchez is blessed with speed and his natural instincts in front of goal should help him settle quicker than Özil, but he will be judged on his number of goals. Wenger could look to start him through the middle, although the absence of the injured Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recovery from injury is likely to see Sanchez start his Arsenal career on the right wing.
7/9 Aaron Ramsey
The Gunners will be hopeful that Ramsey can maintain his level of performance from last season after appearing to overcome the thigh injury that kept him out for nearly four months last term. The Welshman was a prominent figure in the Gunners title challenge, and there is no reason why they can’t win further silverware next season with a fit Ramsey in the side. The confidence he should gain from scoring the winning goal in an FA Cup final should see him push on even further.
8/9 Santi Cazorla
The Spanish magician is a wanted man with interest coming from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, but Arsenal fans will not want him to leave after showing moments of genius since arriving at the Emirates. He has the tendency to blow hot or cold, as he tends to go missing when he’s not at his best, but his best is a joy to watch. Faces a much bigger fight to keep his place this season following the arrival of Sanchez which could see the attacking midfield trio rejigged to accommodate the Chile star.
9/9 Olivier Giroud
Despite calls for him to be replaced – or at least given support – Giroud is likely to continue as Arsenal’s lead striker, at least until the return to fitness of Walcott. Sanchez could take his place through the middle should he start the season slowly, but after showing more last season than he did in his first year with the club, there is an expectation that Giroud can push on further. If he can cut out his habit to miss clear-cut opportunities time and again, he could well contest the league’s top scorer award.
"We did well on Saturday and had a great game, scored a lot of goals but on Sunday there was another team who have had only three or four days of training," he explained.
"We could see it, especially for me - it was really hard for me physically and I didn't feel really well in the game but it is okay as I have this week to work because we have to be ready against City.
"I have asked to work hard (in training). For pre-season preparation you have to work hard and there is less than one week to be ready."
Arsenal's pre-season preparation also saw them take a squad to face New York Red Bulls in the United States, with most players who were involved on World Cup duty excused from making the trip.
Giroud feels there is an obvious gap in fitness levels between those players who have been back in training for a longer period but is backing Arsene Wenger's side to have a great season once everyone is up to scratch.
"I didn't got to New York, along with a lot of players, so we are at a different stage so it is hard to value our potential but when we are fit and all together we will do fantastic things," he said.
"We just have to work at our training and we have a fantastic test on Sunday, we will be ready I think because we want to win this first trophy."
Wenger is not concerned about Giroud's fitness and put his display on Sunday down to a lack of rest.
"Today at least he was not ready at all," Wenger said after the game.
"He had only three weeks rest, it was not an eternity and he had to come back quickly. But sometimes when you come back late you want to work hard and in a game you are not as sharp. "It's nothing about him. He's not put weight on, he's not out of shape, he's worked very hard this week and not recovered from the work he has done."
After the Wembley showdown against City, the Gunners get their Barclays Premier League campaign up and running at home to Crystal Palace before the first-leg of their Champions League qualifier.
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