Arsene Wenger has finally managed to give some positive news on the long-term injuries suffered by one of his players, with the Arsenal boss hinting that Olivier Giroud may well be back earlier than expected.
Giroud suffered a broken leg in the 2-2 draw with Everton earlier this season and it was originally predicted he would be out for as long as four months with his recovery. However, it now seems there is hope that he will be back sooner after Wenger's recent comments.
"Olivier Giroud is recovering very well,” Wenger told beIN Sports. “I believe he is ahead of schedule in terms of rehabilitation. The operation went perfectly.”
It is good news for the Emirates Stadium club, who are suffering from another injury crisis early in this new season. Record signing Mesut Özil was ruled out for up to three months with a damaged knee ligament at the start of the international break.
List of absences
Özil's absence was added to that of other key midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta, while summer signing Mathieu Debuchy is another who is ruled out until 2015. However, Theo Walcott has started full training once again and should be available for a return following recovery from a ruptured cruciate ligament.
Giroud's injury left Arsenal dangerously short in the centre-forward position and, ultimately, prompted Wenger to go out and buy Danny Welbeck from rivals Manchester United in a £16million deal. The young England striker has settled in reasonably well, which was crucial for the Gunners.
With Walcott being out injured and Wenger not trusting Lukas Podolski to play through the middle, another option up front was required. Welbeck's arrival and subsequent good form had many assuming the 23-year-old would now move ahead of Giroud in the pecking order.
Wenger did not agree. In the same interview the French tactician revealed his belief that the pair could combine well together in attack. This would suggest a return to a system of two strikers, which Arsenal have not used regularly for a number of years. However, he also highlighted Welbeck's versatility in attacking positions.
Optimistic over partnership
"Welbeck and [Giroud] can play together in the centre or separately," he added.
“Welbeck also played on one side to Manchester United. Welbeck played in the same team with [Wayne] Rooney and [Robin] van Persie. He can play down the sides.”
Wenger's words might not be welcomed too enthusiastically by the Gunners' new signing, as one of his motivations for moving to the north London club was get get more opportunities to play in his preferred position through the middle.
Writing was on the wall
Manchester United's purchasing of Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria this summer put paid to any ambitions to get a chance as a striker. Even playing out wide looked all the more unlikely with the new arrivals and new manager Louis van Gaal's preferred system.
Welbeck is expected to start up front for Arsenal again on Saturday against Hull City at Emirates Stadium, despite coming off injured during England's 1-0 win away at Estonia on Sunday evening.
Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson insisted Welbeck had just turned his ankle and revealed that England team doctors were confident there was no serious problem to be addressed.