Arsene Wenger has hinted that Olivier Giroud has played his way back into contention for a starting spot after coming off the bench to score twice in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday.
Alexis Sanchez also scored twice at the Stadium of Light to take his tally for the season upto eight and make him the club’s joint top scorer alongside Theo Walcott.
Giroud’s return to fitness and form is timely, particularly considering Lucas Perez is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and when asked if the striker had given him a selection headache, Wenger insisted that was not the case but hinted at game time for the Frenchman.
“When they score goals, you have no headache,” he told the official Arsenal website.
“We play every three days and it’s simple – nobody can play all the games and it’s down to me to find the right balance in every single game between attacking and defending, even if we are more of an attacking team.
“Sometimes I can play them together, sometimes separately, but we play so many games that everybody should get the number of games he wants.”
Wenger also singled Giroud out for special praise, after a frustrating start to the season largely due to injury.
“Olivier is a guy who is mentally absolutely fantastic. He’s strong and every time he’s questioned, he gives you the right answer on the pitch. I admire that in him,” he added.
“He’s a guy who has gone through some different questions. Even before the European Championship in France, he was questioned by the crowd and in the end everybody was on his side.”
Sanchez, meanwhile, has flourished in a central role in Giroud’s absence and Wenger says the flexibility of the Chilean gives his team plenty of attacking options.
“He is doing extremely well and I believe that he enjoys it,” he added. “But we can as well play 4-4-2 with two through the middle as well, because Mesut can play in behind or on the flank. I will see. Let’s not create problems that we don’t have at the moment.”
Although Wenger may not want to admit it, Giroud’s goals will certainly have given him plenty of food for thought but with the Frenchman, Sanchez and Walcott all in the goals it is a problem most managers would love to have.