Saturday, March 25, 2017

Wenger could ´gamble´ on Giroud, Koscielny and Ozil fitness

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Aug 2016

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is tempted to gamble on bringing Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil back into the first team early.

The Gunners travel to Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday, having lost 4-3 at home to Liverpool in their first match of the campaign.

Giroud, Koscielny and Ozil were three of the players Arsenal had to do without against Jurgen Klopp’s side after they were given extended breaks following their efforts for France and Germany at Euro 2016.

Wenger acknowledged the trio are still short of full match fitness, but revealed he could opt to take a risk on them for the trip to Leicester, with Koscielny in particular being considered due to the club’s injuries in central defence – Gabriel and Per Mertesacker are both out.

“Maybe I will take a gamble on bringing them back early but I have 48 hours to decide that,” said Wenger.

“It’s a bit early, I have three players who have not played for two-and-a-half months. Laurent is close to returning and if I have to take a gamble on one it is certainly on him.

“It’s very difficult. The clubs pay always for the fact the players play in this tournament. The Euro finished July 10, you started August 14. So what can you do? 

“Do you give the player normal holiday and they aren’t ready, or they are mentally and physically jaded.

“The fact is I gave him [Koscielny] holiday at the start and Gabriel, Mertesacker, we lost the two of them.”

Arsenal fans will not have to wait too long for the return of Aaron Ramsey (hamstring).

Wenger added: “Aaron Ramsey should be back after the international break. It is not a bad injury.”

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