Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that losing Olivier Giroud for three matches is a massive blow to the club, but is still confident that they can end the season on a high and finish inside the top four ahead of rivals Tottenham and Chelsea.

The French striker was sent off for a straight red in the last minute against Fulham after a dangerous tackle on Fulham defender Stanislav Manolev, which means he will miss three out of the remaining four games.

The suspension will see Giroud miss the forthcoming fixtures against Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic, but will see him back for the last game of the season Newcastle United.

Arsenal did appeal the ban as they felt it was an accidental challenge after Giroud slipped before making the tackle, but the FA rejected their appeal, much to the annoyance of Wenger and Giroud.

Wenger commented: "I am sad that it didn't work, but we have to cope with it."

The Gunners boss will now have to weigh up his options before choosing who to play in the centre ahead of the United game on Sunday with Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott the main contenders.

Despite losing Giroud, Wenger is confident that the team can get together and still finish the season on a high note.

"It is a blow that we cannot have him available. We will have to do without him and we will do it," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "It is a harsh decision. After the game, I was a little bit less convinced that he didn't deserve the red card, but having seen it again, I feel it is completely accidental and a very minor incident."

 

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