Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is suffering from “a bit of fatigue”, according to teammate Laurent Koscielny.
Giroud started the season in blistering form but it appears playing 21 games in 89 days is beginning to take its toll on the France international, who has not scored in his past four outings.
Koscielny admits he is concerned about Giroud being at risk of burnout ahead of another pair of fixtures for Les Bleus -- the two-legged World Cup playoff against Ukraine -- but stressed he has been hugely impressed with his compatriot’s contribution of ten goals for club and country this term.
“It’s true that he’s not scoring but he is setting them up, like he did against Dortmund,” Koscielny told the media at France's Clairefontaine training base. “But he’s also playing game after game and hasn’t had a rest, so maybe he’s feeling a bit of fatigue.
“He’s very important for us -- strong and always answers the call on the pitch. If you look at the games, he weighs enormously on the opposition’s defence. All the balls he wins are in the air with his back to goal. He works very hard up front.”
Koscielny and Giroud will need to pick themselves up after Premier League leaders Arsenal fell to a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, with the France defender confident that his side will respond from their first league loss since the opening day of the season.
“We are still confident. The lessons to learn are that we were too shy in the first half and we weren’t able to play our game,” Kosicleny said. “The second half was better even if Manchester United let us have the ball.
“But we’d played a lot of games so maybe we dropped off a bit physically. Now we have 10 days off and we will have to get the fire going again at home to Southampton.”