Arsenal 0 Bayern Munich 2: Olivier Giroud was 'not dropped as a punishment', insists manager Arsene Wenger
The untested 21-year-old Yaya Sanogo was preferred for crucial clash
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated that his decision to drop striker Olivier Giroud for the 2-0 Champions League last-16 first leg defeat by Bayern Munich was not punishment for allegedly sneaking a lingerie model into the team hotel the night before the win over Crystal Palace earlier this month.
The French striker has since apologised to his team-mates, wife and Gunners' supporters for the incident, on the eve of the 2-0 victory over Palace on 2 February, going as far as to claim on Twitter that he did not commit adultery yesterday, but Wenger said Giroud had the strength of character not to be affected by his off-field problems, and he was simply rested for a couple of matches, having played 33 matches in all competitions for the club this season. The 27-year-old also missed the 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool last weekend.
Read more: Szczesny could face action over gesture
Kroos shows why Guardiola rotation policy is justified
Giroud was not dropped as 'punishment' - Wenger
Wenger remains optimistic
Match report: Bayern too strong for 10-man Arsenal
Player ratings: Who scored lower - Ozil or Szczesny?
Red card was correct - but also unnecessary and unjust
Arsenal have mountain to climb
Penalty miss had 'huge impact' on Ozil
Guardiola knows how to control games - and when to deliver fatal blow
Wenger had previously claimed that the club were dealing with the matter "internally".
For the first-leg Champions League fixture on Wednesday night, Wenger made the surprise choice of dropping Giroud, who was an unused substitute, and playing the unproven striker Yaya Sanogo instead.
"It was just a decision based on performance. When I play Giroud in every game, people reproach me from playing him in every game. When I rest him, people reproach me for resting him," Wenger told reporters in his post-match briefing "Tonight I rested him so you should be happy. It was not punishment, it was just a decision tonight. Giroud is a strong character, and what happened doesn't influence his behaviour on the pitch."
The manager added:"I just decided to give him a breather for one or two games, and to give him a chance to come back refreshed. As well I wanted to give an opportunity to Sanogo, and I think he did very well."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Monaco match report: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goal provides little consolation as Berbatov and Monaco stun Gunners
Fabio Cannavaro given jail sentence: World Cup winning captain gets 10-months for swimming in pool
Charlton sex tape: is the #sextratime Vine real or just another publicity stunt?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Financial Fair Play under threat: Brussels court case could potentially lead to rules being scrapped
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'