Arsenal Vs. Dortmund: Wenger Explains Giroud’s Champions League Absence

Champions LeagueArsène Wenger says Olivier Giroud is not in Arsenal’s Champions League squad because the club did not expect him to return so soon.

Giroud was initially ruled out until January with the broken tibia he suffered against Everton – and the group stage ends on December 9 with a trip to Galatasaray.

However, the France striker made an early comeback on Saturday – scoring against Manchester United – and his speedy return caught everyone by surprise.

“Exactly (we presumed his injury would mean he wouldn’t be available),” Wenger said to Arsenal.com, “At the time, we bought Danny Welbeck and we had to put him on the list.

“Giroud was supposed to be unavailable for the qualifying group stage (of the Champions League) and we put him out. He is coming back early and that is good news, but of course he’s not on the list of the 25 selected players.”

Arsenal would be able to register up to three new eligible players if they progress to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Olivier Giroud Returns For Arsenal, Fit For Manchester United Clash

GiroudArsenal striker, Olivier Giroud, has recovered from a broken leg, one month ahead of schedule.

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, has confirmed that the 28-year-old French international striker is fit to face Manchester United on Saturday.

Giroud suffered a broken foot during a 2-2 draw away at Everton on August 23 and has been out of action since then.

Wenger was expecting to welcome Giroud back in January at the earliest, but the Gunners’ top scorer from last season has made a speedy recovery.

“Giroud and Arteta are both available. It’s just a question of how ready they are. But they are available,” he told reporters.

“He is three or four weeks ahead of schedule. Originally we planned to have him back for competition at the beginning of next year. So he’s one month ahead.”

Giroud’s return eases the burden on English striker, Danny Welbeck and Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez who has beenArsenal sensational since joining from Barcelona in the summer with 12 goals in 17 games.

Giroud started off the season in good form too, scoring twice in his opening four games before breaking his leg.

The Arsenal’s boss, however, confirmed that defenders, Matheiu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny are both out on the training ground but still a month or so away from being available for games.

“Koscielny and Debuchy are doing well, they are out on the field again.

“We have to see now. Usually field work is three weeks away from full group training. Then there is fitness.

“It looks straightforward for Debuchy. It’s not inflammation, it’s just repairing surgery. For Koscielny, it depends how well he responds to training.

“At the moment he looks good. Ozil is doing well but he will not be ready before the start of 2015,” Wenger said.

The Gunners take on Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as they aim to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City in their last game.

Giroud Undergoes Surgery To Left Tibia

GiroudArsenal Striker, Olivier Giroud, has undergone successful surgery to repair a small fracture to his left tibia.

A statement on Arsenal Football Club’s official website confirmed this.

Scans following Saturday’s match at Everton confirmed the injury and after specialist opinions in the following days, the decision was taken to have surgery in London on Wednesday afternoon.

Olivier is expected to return to action in approximately four months.

There were expectations that Club Manager, Arsene Wenger, would be forced to sign a new striker to keep the team’s challenge for honours on track, but the manager, while speaking to the media on Wednesday night quashed the hopes.

“Giroud had surgery today from a broken tibia and he will be out for 3-4 months on the competition side. That means he will be capable to play again in the Premier League certainly at the end of December because he will be out for two months.

“By the time he comes back, that goes three to four months. You ask me straight away who we will buy? I give you the answer straight away – at the moment nobody.”

Wenger Reacts To Arsenal Defeat In New York And Facing Henry

Wenger New YorkArsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger, addressed the media after his side were narrowly beaten by the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening.

According to the transcript published on the club’s official website, arsenal.com, Wenger spoke about going into the game without a striker,We had no Giroud, no Walcott, no Sanchez and no Podolski. Akpom did well but he’s a young boy and he has to learn a lot but he has potential.”

He explained, “As long as you don’t score it’s not good but you can play with three No 9s and you don’t score sometimes. We were dominated physically in the first half, we came back into it in the last 10 minutes, their keepers made a few saves and our combinations were better.” He, however, admitted that the team lacked pace without any centre forward.

He also revealed that young striker, Sanogo missed the game because he had a thigh problem and he didn’t want to take a gamble.

Value Playing In New York
“For us it was a great experience, everybody enjoyed it and nobody wants to go home. It was a short trip but a very exciting one because New York is a special city. But what is even more special for us is how popular football is now. The values we stand for are shared here and everybody was very friendly and everybody respects what we try to do. One of the values we have to stand up for as well is when your opponent is better than us, we have to say ‘well done’ and today that was the case.”

On Facing Thierry Henry
“I think it was a great afternoon for him. He played well and his team played well as well. You could see that everybody was focused and ready for a fight. If they can maintain that kind of commitment and solidarity they have shown today and if they keep Thierry Henry in this form, they have a good chance to come back into a strong position in the league.

“Thierry can be dangerous from everywhere and understands very quickly what he can take advantage from. He was sharp today in the one against one and you could see why he was a great player because when he played in midfield his passing was excellent. He has vision as well and you could see that he can play everywhere.”

Lessons From Last Season’s Title Race
“We were not far (away0) it was very tight. We wanted to add that little bit of quality which we missed in the end. It depends on one or two games at the end of the day. There are 38 games, we finished with 79 points, and the winner of the championship had 86 so it was very tight.

“Hopefully we can get that little bit more quality in the decisive games. We were more consistent than everybody else against the lower teams, we performed less well against the top-level teams so that’s what we have to gain.”

Wenger noted, however, that it was too early to talk about the chances of his younger players featuring this season, “it’s our first game. I believe that physically this game was a bit too high for us because some of the players came back last Monday. It was not ideal but we got away without any injuries.”

EPL: Liverpool Confident Of Victory Over Chelsea

Brendan RogersLiverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers is confident his Liverpool players possess the necessary ingredients to get the better of title rival Chelsea when the two teams meet at Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool will go into the game five points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s side following an unexpected victory by bottom club Sunderland at Chelsea which Liverpool took advantage of with its 3-2 win at Norwich City on Sunday.

Beating Chelsea on Sunday would put Liverpool closer to its first ever Premier League title with two games left to play.

Rodgers gave an insight into the philosophy that has helped the team get to the top of the league table, crushing teams like Arsenal and Liverpool along the way.

“When they are in the changing room just before we go out, I always tell them, ‘Lose yourself, focus on the ball and focus on the team. If you do that, then we can be a real force,’ ” he said.

“You have seen all the characteristics of our team today (Sunday) — wonderful invention and creativity, courage, arrogance on the ball, goal-scoring, young players and senior players all playing, and instructions that allow them to express themselves.

“It’s going to be a brilliant game next weekend with Chelsea coming to Anfield. The supporters will be right up for it and the players as well. We are looking forward to it.”

Raheem Sterling scored two of Liverpool’s goals at Carrow Road, either side of Luis Suarez’s 30th Premier League goal of the season, and Rodgers hailed the England international for his contribution.

“He is arguably the best young player in European football at the moment,” Rodgers said.

EPL: Tomas Rosicky Determined To Win With Arsenal

Tomas Rosicky celebrates Arsenal's third goal with the scorer of the first two, Olivier Giroud. Reuters

Tomas Rosicky has pledged his future to Arsenal in the belief that the club has all that they needs to end their lengthy trophy drought.

The Czech playmaker is out of contract at the end of the 2013/14 season, but Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger revealed at the weekend that he expects that Rosicky would sign a new deal in the coming weeks.

The 33-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, impressed when he took the place of Mesut Ozil in the team against Sunderland on Saturday, crowning his performance with a sublime goal.

Rosicky’s time at the club has been hampered by a number of injuries, and he missed the entire 2008-09 season due to a hamstring tendon problem that almost ended his career.

But he is back in Wenger’s plans and remains convinced he is at the right place to win silverware sooner rather than later.

“I always believed in it here at Arsenal and still do. I knew this club was the right place for me and I want to be here for as long as I can,” Rosicky told the official Arsenal magazine.

“It is obviously very difficult to predict how long I can go on for, (but) I feel very good. I don’t feel any different than in the past, I don’t feel any change in myself.

“All I can say is that I still have a big passion to achieve things and that is really important.

“You must have that force, that drive to go on and achieve something and I definitely still have that.

“I was nearly out of the game because of injury, so I have a different approach now because I know it could end at any point. I just want to be successful with Arsenal.

“I won three titles in the Czech Republic before I left (Sparta Prague), I won the Bundesliga with Dortmund and I still believe I can do it here.

“I wouldn’t stay here if I didn’t believe.

“The idea of winning the (Premier) League and the Champions League really drives me forward, I love it”, Rosicky said.

Champions League: Belief Is The Key For Arsenal – Wenger

Arsenal have the belief to challenge Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the first leg of the last-16 more effectively than they did a year ago, Coach Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday (February 18).

Having met at the same stage of the competition last season, Arsenal will be out to avenge defeat by Bayern as, despite winning the second leg 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, they were eliminated on away goals after losing 3-1 at home.

At the start of February, Wenger identified it as a crucial month for the London side and results so far in the tougher games have been mixed.

They beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup to avenge a 5-1 drubbing in the Premier League and drew 0-0 with defending champions Manchester United.

At a news conference on Tuesday (February 18), Wenger took heart from the FA Cup wins over Liverpool and over local rivals Tottenham in the previous round as he prepared his side to face champions Bayern.

“We know that we face the favourites of the competition and what we have is belief, because on the opposite we have had only big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup because we played against Tottenham, we played against Liverpool. Since the start of the season we know that in every single game we have to be 100 percent. We believe we can do it but that is down to the quality of our performance tomorrow,” said the Frenchman.

“It gave us belief to finish well the season last year and from then on I think as well since the start of the season we have done well. We are in a strong position and it’s now down to us how we can from game to game show the same focus as against Liverpool.”

“I think we are in much better mental shape than we were one year ago because we lost against Blackburn (Rovers) at home in the FA Cup and it was a big disappointment for us, this time we won against Liverpool and we are really determined of course to win this game tomorrow.

“We have a strong team spirit that is for sure and a strong desire to do well and a united team. But it’s important as well; I believe we always had these kinds of qualities but not always the belief. Belief is built by the results and on that front we are stronger of course.”

Wenger is expected to ring the changes against a Bayern side that have lost once in 34 games and won 13 straight Bundesliga matches.

Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Bacary Sagna and Wojciech Szczcesny are all pushing for starts and with Mikel Arteta suspended, Tomas Rosicky could start in midfield alongside Mathieu Flamini.

Jack Wilshere may also bolster Arsenal’s midfield in view of the difficult task of stifling Bayern’s powerhouse midfield, with Schweinsteiger, Tony Kroos and Javi Martinez supplying balls for Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic.

The 20-year-old England international is confident Arsenal can rise to the challenge posed by the German side.

“We’ve spoken about the importance of staying in the game, if it’s 0-0 at home we’ve still got a big chance of qualifying, the away goal is massive in this competition, especially when it comes to these big games.

“That’s what we saw last year, we went out on away goals and this year we’ve got to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game,” said Wilshere, who has scored two goals in six Champions League appearances this season.