Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Olivier Giroud will return to training next week as the striker continues to recover from a broken ankle.
Giroud has not player for Arsenal since scoring a last minute equaliser in their 2-2 draw against Everton in August. A heavy tackle fractured Giroud's left tibia, which required surgery.
Originally Giroud was expected to be ruled out until 2015, but Wenger reported last month that the France international was around three weeks ahead of schedule. Now the Gunners boss has confirmed that Giroud will return to training as early as next week.
He told Arsenal's official website: "Giroud joins in training next week."
That would be a significant boost for Arsenal, who have been relying on summer signing Danny Welbeck for the duration of Giroud's absence. While the for Manchester United player has impressed, Giroud will give Wenger a valuable option up front.
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Giroud's return to training comes at the perfect time for Wenger, who is set to welcome Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium on November 22. While Giroud may not make it in time for the game, returning to training next week gives him an excellent chance.
"Koscielny has a little chance to be back after the international break." - Arsene Wenger
The news is not so great for his compatriot Laurent Koscielny, however. The centre-back, who is needed much more urgently in the squad than Giroud, is still struggling with a chronic Achilles problem and his return to full fitness seems shrouded in doubt.
Wenger said: "Koscielny has a little chance to be back after the international break."
That could mean that Nacho Monreal will be stuck filling in a centre-back for a much longer duration than any Arsenal fan would have liked. The left-back is struggling to fill the boots of Koscielny and appeared at fault for two of Anderlecht's three goals in Tuesday night.
With Manchester United boasting one of the best attacks in world football, Monreal will have to improve substantially if he is to keep a clean sheet. Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney will no doubt be licking their lips at the chance to take on the shaky Spaniard.
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