I may be in the minority of Arsenal fans here, but I still believe that our French centre forward Olivier Giroud is a very good player and is a very realistic option for Arsene Wenger to use in the centre forward role. So even if the Chile international star Alexis Sanchez has been passed fully fit and the Frenchman has no qualms about using him then I would not be surprised to see Giroud in the starting line up against Manchester United today.
It is not a 100 percent accurate way of telling which Arsenal players will be in the starting line-up, but almost every time Arsene Wenger chooses one of the Gunners to do a press conference with him then that player will be in the team.
Yesterday the Arsenal boss spoke to the football media as Arsenal prepare for the Champions League away tie with Ludogorets and it was the two goal hero from Saturday’s win at Sunderland, Olivier Giroud, who fielded questions alongside Wenger, as the match preview in The Mirror shows.
I must admit that I was not convinced at all that the Arsenal experiment of playing Alexis Sanchez in the centre forward position would work and for the first couple of games this season it looked like I was right. I have to say, however, that the Chilean is certainly proving me and all the other doubters wrong.
It seemed that the role was not good for Alexis and when the Gunners had tried it in the past it never worked out, so I expected him to be back on the left side as soon as Arsene Wenger had another option, but the 27-year old striker has improved in each game and is really looking the part now.
We heard from Arsene Wenger the sort of news that Arsenal fans have sadly become used to in recent years, with the return of the Welsh international star Aaron Ramsey after his hamstring injury having been put back yet again. He has now been out of action since that first EPL match against Liverpool and is not likely to be ready for next weekend either.
Some better news for the boss, however, was that our big French centre forward Olivier Giroud is close to a comeback having come through a training session earlier in the week without any problems. The striker was due to be tested again during training yesterday but as long as nothing untoward happened he should be fit to face Chelsea today.
Arsenal fans were delighted to get our England international striker Danny Welbeck back from his long term injury lay-off recently, and the former Man United man came back with a bang and after the shocking form in front of goal we have seen from Olivier Giroud since the turn of the year it was no surprise to see Welbeck starting ahead of the Frenchman.
But that initial burst of form and confidence has faded somewhat and Welbeck has been as guilty as any Gunner of missing chances of late and has not scored since the win at Everton over a month ago. That, combined with the expected defensive set-up of West Brom at the Emirates tonight, leads me to believe that Arsene Wenger could bring Giroud back into the starting line up tonight.
Arsenal may be happy to have the international break coming up for a number of reasons but Arsene Wenger also has a problem coming up when the Arsenal players return from representing their various nations and so the Frenchman may have to ask a big favour of the England national coach Roy Hodgson over his use of Danny Welbeck.
While this international break sees fewer arsenal stars than usual heading off, due to the injury problems of Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla and the non-selection of players like Francis Coquelin and Nacho Monreal, we still have plenty of internationally involved players to worry about.
Arsenal could really have done with our England international forward Danny Welbeck coming back from injury a lot sooner in the season and his comeback may prove to have been too late to save the Gunners from this most frustrating of seasons, but he has at least come back with a bang.
Once again at the weekend he made a big difference after coming on as a sub in the FA cup defeat to Watford. Arsene Wenger suggested after that loss that he was having to ease Welbeck back as he has been out for a long time and is not quite fully match fit yet.
Arsene Wenger has been left with little choice but to change the Arsenal team that played so poorly and slumped to a damaging and dismal loss against Man United at Old Trafford. And he may well need to freshen up the legs of the team as well as the big games have been coming thick and fast.
The first player to be struck off the team sheet will surely be the England international Theo Walcott as he was as bad against United as I can remember. A bigger call but also one I think the boss could make is to rest the under performing Alexis Sanchez as well, although I would still expect to see him from the bench.
With Arsenal really needing to take all three points from the Premier League home game against Chelsea this afternoon, Arsene Wenger will have been hugely relieved to see two of the club’s best and most important players back in training this week.
And barring any last minute setback, both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will be fit to feature at the Emirates Stadium today. If that is the case you do not need me to tell you that the boss will put them straight back into the first team.
Do not get yourself too excited Gooners, because I am pretty sure that the Arsenal injury list on the sports injury website physioroom.com is a mistake. I have been trying it all day, though, and it is still showing some very good news for Arsenal fans and our hopes of giving the reigning Premier League chamnpions Chelsea a good old pasting at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.