Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has declined to explain why he left lead striker Olivier Giroud out of his lineup for the Champions League loss against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, but believes the Frenchman can come back from his recent troubles.
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Giroud hit the headlines after taking to Twitter to admit he had ‘let his family down’ following tabloid allegations about his personal life, with Wenger opting to start with inexperienced Yaya Sanogo in the Gunners’ biggest game of the season instead.
Now the Arsenal boss had suggested the France international will be part of his plans for Saturday’s Premier League game against Sunderland and insisted he has the mental strength to overcome his recent problems.
“[Giroud] is completely focused,” said Wenger. “He is a strong man I must say, he is a strong guy. We have all our weaknesses and strengths. Some of us when we have problems outside of the field we use the pitch or our work to forget about our problems. He will focus completely on the pitch.
“I wouldn’t like to explain to you why he was left out [against Bayern]. Is he likely to feature this weekend -- yes. He is part of a refreshment plan for the weekend.”
Wenger went on to confirm goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will be punished by the club after he was spotted offering an offensive gesture on camera following his red card in the first half of the Bayern game, and the Poland international could face further action from Uefa.
“We will deal with that internally,” stated Wenger when asked about his goalkeeper’s conduct. “We don’t agree with that. It was frustration. We are professionals and me included, we have always to master our reactions. Wojciech is part of that as well.”
Meanwhile, Wenger has elaborated on his assertion that the game’s authorities should change the rules that demand a red card for incident like the one that saw Szczesny dismissed following his clash with Bayern forward Arjen Robben.
“Common sense says you should divide between what is inside the box and what’s outside the box,” he added. “Denying a goalscoring opportunity inside the box is restored by the fact that you get a penalty.
“In this case, for example, you could say with Robben, the penalty was a better chance than what he had when he was denied a goalscoring opportunity.
“It was not violent conduct from Wojciech; he went for the ball, he caught him. There is no need to kill a game like that for a decision that doesn’t make common sense.”
The International Football Association Board is set to consider proposals that would see have Szczesny merely receive a yellow card for his clash with Robben at their next scheduled meeting.