Arsenal news: Arsene Wenger insists Olivier Giroud remains in his plans despite not starting a game this season

Giroud has not started a match this season for Arsenal but Wenger says just because he's not in the team now does not mean he will be sold

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger has reiterated that Olivier Giroud still has a future at Arsenal, despite the striker losing his place to Alexis Sanchez and yet to start a match this season.

Giroud has been hampered this term by a number of factors, but the result has been the demotion to the substitutes’ bench as Wenger attempts to find a winning formula in his pursuit of the Premier League title.

The France international saw his start to the season delayed after Wenger afforded him extra time off following Euro 2016, and he then suffered a toe injury along with a red card in the Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain that has kept him sidelined.

He played the final 11 minutes of Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea in September, but has not been seen since and there are serious doubts over his future at the Emirates Stadium given that both Sanchez and Theo Walcott are flourishing in his absence.

Wenger used his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League tie with Ludogorets to stress that Giroud remains in his plans though, and said that just because he was not in the first team now, it does not mean he will be left out for the entire season.

“He is an important player in our squad,” Wenger said. “The squad is not 11, we are 25 players and everybody will contribute at different parts of the season.

“What sometimes looks permanent in October is completely revolutionised in December.

“We all have only one target: to be successful together, no matter who it is.”

Premier League round-up: Man City stutter as Arsenal march on

Arsenal head into the first of two consecutive European matches against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets top of Group A, having taken four points from their opening two matches against PSG and Basel. PSG join them on four points, although they currently trail the Gunners due to a virtue of Arsenal holding an away goal in the head-to-head rivalry.

Wenger will hope that six points from six against Ludogorets will put his side on the verge of guaranteed qualification, with double figures usually enough to see a club through to the knockout stages of the competition, and it would leave him to contend with remaining games against PSG and Basel with the pressure taken off their shoulders.

Yet previous years have shown Arsenal the worth of finishing top of the group, with the last-16 proving a repeated stumbling block for the north London side as they have been knocked out of the competition at that stage for the past six seasons, having finished runner-up in their group on each occasions and facing a draw against a group winner as a result.