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Arsene Wenger worried about festive injuries

Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 13:11

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he is worried he may lose more players to injury over the Christmas period as the festive fixtures pile up.

Wenger made 11 changes as a Danny Welbeck goal was enough to seal a forgettable 1-0 win over West Ham on Tuesday night and put the Gunners into the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Wenger has been rotating his team between the Premier League, Europa League and Carabao Cup so far this season and has bemoaned the lack of rest time his side has had relative to their recent opposition. Both Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin limped out of Tuesday's game, with Wenger anticipating Giroud will be out for up to three weeks with a hamstring problem.
With Liverpool visiting the Emirates Stadium on Friday, Wenger conceded he is concerned that he may see more members of his squad ruled out in the coming weeks as Arsenal enter a run of 10 games in 36 days.

"It is very demanding, especially because we already have a tough schedule behind us," he said.

" We have to sit down and analyse very well what we can do. What is very worrying in my job is when you start to lose players, like Giroud tonight. After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule. When you look at our fixtures in January and February, you cannot imagine we will always play with the same players in every game. Will I change from Premier League game to Premier League or only in the Carabao Cup? I don't know yet - I have to look at the fixtures to see what I do."
West Ham have enjoyed a recent resurgence under David Moyes, including a 0-0 home draw against Arsenal in the league last week, but were toothless here.
They had just one shot off target as Moyes himself made six changes, with the former Manchester United boss left frustrated with the overall display.

"I think we are making steady progress but I was disappointed with the quality of our play," he said.

" Overall, we were never out of the game in a cup match against Arsenal. We have conceded one goal in two games against them now and I think if you said that the day I arrived here I would have taken that. We put out a strong team, what was available to us but we have got big games coming up as well and arguably, I am in a more difficult position than Arsene Wenger."
Moyes was unable to select Manuel Lanzini after he was hit with a two-match ban following a retrospective charge for diving to win a penalty at Stoke.

"I am disappointed because I don't see any consistency," added Moyes.

"I'm not sure even in this room, everybody would be unanimous and that was what it said it had to be."

Olivier Giroud not for sale in January, insists Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Published in England Premier League
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 11:02

Arsene Wenger insists Olivier Giroud will not be sold in January as he looks to give the striker more Premier League minutes after his late leveller at Southampton.
The France international is yet to start a league game for the Gunners this season but scored an 88th-minute equaliser off the bench as Arsenal salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw at St Mary's on Sunday.
Giroud, 31, was close to moving to Everton in the summer but remained at the Emirates Stadium, where he has largely featured in the Europa League as club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette keeps him out of the Premier League side.

His header at Southampton saw him draw level with former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the highest-scoring substitute for a single side in Premier League history with 17 from the bench.

Giroud admitted recently he is frustrated not to feature more in the Premier League but Wenger has said he will do so over the festive period:

" He will start more games. I believe as well it's always the same when you have many good players, some of them cannot play. The question you get is always why does the guy who is good not play? Because if you take him on you have another guy who is good who will not play, it is as simple as that."
Pushed on whether an important player like Giroud could be sold in the transfer window, Wenger replied: "In your question is the answer, because you say he is important, why should we lose an important player?"

Asked if it would be up to the club or player as to whether a January move could happen, Wenger clarified: "It is up to us."

Saints took the lead on three minutes as Charlie Austin continued a fine run of form in front of goal, scoring his fourth in three games.

The hosts would have moved into the top half of the table if they could have held on for the win but, despite being disappointed with the late equaliser, manager Mauricio Pellegrino was happy with the performance.

"It's part of the game, we know that a team with quality like Arsenal, in one action they can create problems but we played a good game," he told BT Sport.

"We have to draw our positive conclusion. We created chances and we competed really well and we have to be happy with this.

"We are obviously disappointed because we conceded at the end, we were really close to winning the game, but the most important thing for us is our game."

Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud on target as France beat Wales

Published in Football
Saturday, 11 November 2017 11:26

Goals by Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud earned France a comprehensive 2-0 home win against Wales in a friendly game at the Stade de France on Friday.

The duo found the back of the net either side of the interval as Les Bleus, who will take part in next year's World Cup finals, snatched a routine win.

Griezmann volleyed home just inside the box from Corentin Tolisso's superb cross in the 18th minute to put Didier Deschamps's team ahead.
It was the 10th time in his last 12 games for the national side that the Atletico Madrid forward was involved in a goal.

Wales, who missed out on a place at next year's tournament in Russia, were just content to defend.

In the second half, Kylian Mbappe's cross was met by Giroud, who beat Wayne Hennessey with a left-footed shot in the 71st minute to seal the win.

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