Wenger ready to recall Giroud but Ozil may be omitted for Sunderland clash
Arsenal boss keen to see his side get back on track following midweek disappointment
Arsene Wenger is adamant that Olivier Giroud has not been affected by recent problems in his private life and that the striker is in the right frame of mind to return for Arsenal against Sunderland this afternoon.
However, the Arsenal manager also hinted that Mesut Özil, who was criticised for his performance in Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat by Bayern Munich after having an early penalty saved, will be withdrawn from the firing line.
There has been speculation over Giroud following a story in the Sun newspaper that he had sneaked a woman into the team hotel on the night before the Crystal Palace game on February 2nd. The Frenchman was named as a substitute in Arsenal’s last two matches.
With Giroud’s marriage crisis dominating headlines, the inexperienced Yaya Sanogo was preferred up front in Sunday’s FA Cup win over Liverpool and then in the Champions League tie against Bayern.
But Wenger has maintained that Giroud was omitted for footballing reasons, citing a string of tired performances, rather than for breaking club rules.
He confirmed that Sanogo will return to the bench against Sunderland and insisted that it will not be a problem for Giroud to start. Wenger said: “I’m not worried for Giroud. His head is in the right place. He’s a great player. He is a great fighter as well.”
While Giroud prepares to return against Gus Poyet’s side, the situation was less clear regarding Özil.
Wenger agreed on Wednesday that the German failed to overcome the disappointment of missing from the spot early on against Bayern.“What’s important is always the team and you never want to hurt any player but you don’t want to give him any favour,” he said. “You have to pick the team who can win the next game.