New record signing Mesut Özil is also a doubt after some tight muscles resulting from playing through his sickness at the weekend, however Wenger rates the German’s chances of inclusion higher than Giroud’s.
The French international has been in sensational form this season, netting in all four of the Gunners opening matches in the Premier League and will want to translate that form into the UCL. He twisted his knee late in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Sunderland and despite stating earlier on twitter that his knee was “fine”, he will still require testing on Tuesday.
Wenger is still banking on Giroud’s fitness for their first group UCL game but will most likely utilize Walcott up front should the Frenchman not make the tie.
The Arsenal boss revealed in his pre-match press conference:
[on Olivier Giroud] We have a few problems. Some with Ozil but the main one is Giroud, who has a knee problem. He will have a test tomorrow and hopefully he will be fit. But it will only be decided tomorrow.
[on options up front if Giroud is ruled out] I have not really thought about it that much but the obvious solution is Walcott. We’ll see.
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[on Per Mertesacker] There is good news. Mertesacker will be available again after illness.
[on Mesut Ozil] He was ill and has some tight muscles after Saturday. But I think he will be OK. We are optimistic.
Mertesacker’s return to the fold is much needed as Arsenal’s defence looked shaky without the BFG. Both Sagna and Koscielny are brilliant centre halves but are far better partnered with the Germany international. Thomas Vermaelen’s return at the weekend will help bolster Wenger’s options. But it seems the club captain still remains the third choice centre back.
Predicted lineup to follow..