Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey are both “close” to returning from injury ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Ludogorets at the Emirates Stadium.
The duo have both missed a large chunk of the season but are now close to a comeback with Wenger also reporting no new injuries following Saturday’s 3-2 Premier League win over Swansea. The Gunners boss also backed Giroud insisting he remains a key player for the club and will have a role to play throughout the season.
“Similar to the squad that faced Swansea. There are no [new] injuries,” the boss told Arsenal’s official website. “They [Ramsey and Giroud] are close. They continue their preparation as they have been out for a long time. I think they need sharpening up now but they are not far away.
“He [Giroud] is a massive player in the squad. Everyone will contribute at different time in the season. What looks permanent in October is sometimes completely different in December.”
Francis Coquelin has also confirmed that he is “100 per cent” and is ready to fight for his place in the team after a knee problem as the Gunners aim to continue their six-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
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“I feel 100 per cent. It took me a couple of weeks to come back but I feel good,” said the midfielder. “This is Arsenal, the squad is always going to be good quality. You have to be ready for a fight. Ultimately it will be good for the squad.
“It’s a massive game tomorrow, especially at home. We’ve got two away after. It’s massively important to get the win tomorrow.”
Victory for Arsenal will give the Gunners seven points from three games and put them in a strong position to qualify for the knockout stages, ahead of the return fixture in Bulgaria, but Wenger also warned against complacency.
“The fixtures are only as kind as you play,” he added. “What look sometimes very easy can be difficult if you don’t prepare mentally.”
Overall it is all positive from Wenger with no new injuries to report and Ramsey and Giroud both set to return, although whether they will play any part remains to be seen. While the Gunners boss may be reluctant to change a winning team, there may be a temptation to rotate against a team that has reached the group stages of the Champions League for only the second time in their history.