Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that Olivier Giroud will return to the Gunners starting line-up for the Premier League match against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The French striker has played no part in the club's last two matches, the 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool and the 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Bayern Munich on Wednesday, amid allegations in his private life that he sneaked lingerie model Celia Kay into the team hotel before the match against Crystal Palace earlier this month.
Giroud then issued an apology to his wife, team-mates and Gunners' supporters for the incident, and the untested striker Yaya Sanogo has started in his place for the past two matches. Giroud has played in 33 matches in all competitions for the club this season, and Wenger claims that it was the plan all along to rest the 27-year-old, and he was not punished was for his reported off-field trysts.
"It is likely Giroud will be involved tomorrow," Wenger said in his press briefing ahead of Saturday's match. "Resting him was part of a refreshment plan.
"He's a strong guy. We all have weaknesses and strengths, some of us use work to forget our problems. He's one who will."
While Giroud will return, Wenger confirmed that left-back Kieran Gibbs will miss out with a hamstring injury picked up in the defeat on Wednesday.
"I will make changes but I don't know how many for sure yet. I will make a decision after training," Wenger said.
"Kieran [Gibbs] is injured and is definitely out."
- More about: