Wenger expects Arsenal player Giroud to stay with Gunners

Arsenal's player Olivier Giroud. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2017
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Wenger expects Arsenal player Giroud to stay with Gunners

SYDNEY: Arsene Wenger says he expects Olivier Giroud to stay at Arsenal this season despite speculation over how he will fit in following the record signing of fellow French striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Giroud, the reported off-season target of Premier League rivals Everton and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, was among the goalscorers in the Gunners’ 3-1 pre-season win over Western Sydney Wanderers in Sydney on Saturday.
The 30-year-old, who was restricted to just 17 starting games for Arsenal last season, made a deft first-time finish at the near post after a strong overlapping run from Nacho Monreal for the opener in the 33rd minute.
Wenger, who is also trying to hold on to prized striker Alexis Sanchez next season amid interest from Manchester City and Bayern Munich, said he wanted Giroud to stay at Arsenal.
“There is a lot of speculation, I have said many times that I have a huge respect for Olivier Giroud for the man he is and the way he loves our club,” Wenger told reporters after Saturday’s game.
“Even with all the speculation he is focused and does his job.
“I always said (that I expect him to stay), I was always consistent with that.”
Asked how he would use Giroud in the wake of signing Lacazette, Wenger added: “Lacazette will play most of the time as center forward.
“He can play in any system because he’s a provider as well, he can combine and play in a 4-4-2 formation.
“At the moment he plays a little bit behind Giroud, tonight he was more on the left, and he can play in that position as well.”
Giroud said earlier this week he was ready for any eventuality ahead of the new season kick-off next month.
“One thing is for sure — I need to be ready and prepare well for the season no matter what,” Giroud said.
“We’ll see about my future, but for the moment I’m still an Arsenal player.”
Wenger was thrilled with the response to Arsenal’s first tour to Australia in 40 years, with a total of 163,653 fans for the two games against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
“I must say after two nights here, we had over 160,000 people at the games and I am just absolutely bewildered,” the 21-year Arsenal manager said.
“I am a long time in the game and it was amazing. We are very, very happy to have so many fans here.
“Wanderers were physically ready, they told me they had five weeks preparation already.
“We have some players who only have had five days, so that pushed us a bit physically and that’s quite good.
“I think we finished our trip to Australia in a good way, now let’s focus on China.”
Arsenal head to China for further games this week against Bayern Munich in Shanghai and Chelsea in Beijing.
“We will play against opponents who are certainly as well in preparation,” he said.
“It will be less robust physically but as well of course you play against teams who have top quality going forward as well.
“We will have to share better our focus on defending and attacking.”


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.