Arsenal have been handed a major boost to their hopes of staying within touching distance of the Premier League title, with first-choice forward Olivier Giroud having made a long-awaited return from injury.
The France international, who has been laid off since the August 23 clash against Everton, returned to first-team training this morning at the club’s London Colney facilities, and will now battle to regain full fitness in the hope of being in contention for a squad position when the Gunners take on Manchester United after the international break.
Giroud's long-awaited return
At the moment it’s Danny Welbeck who is his direct competition for the starting berth, with youngster Yaya Sanogo having been used as a backup in his absence. The England striker has looked brilliant in spells, but Arsene Wenger will be thankful to have Giroud back nonetheless, as summer import Alexis Sanchez has been charged with scoring the bulk of Arsenal’s goals so far.
Giroud’s injury has been just one of many that Wenger has had to work around, and with the confirmation that Mesut Ozil will be missing for up to another seven weeks, it’s vital that spirits are kept high.
Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny are also still absent through injury, whilst sensational reports earlier today claimed that Abou Diaby had suffered another lengthy setback.
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On top of that the Gunners aren’t having the best time of things on the pitch, having surrendered leads in their last two matches against Anderlecht and Swansea City. Wenger’s men threw away a 3-0 advantage in the Champions League last week before letting Swansea score two to overcome them in the Premier League at the weekend, and the French coach knows things must change.
Buying a new striker
Although Giroud’s return has come just at the right moment, his absence was proof that Arsenal need to seriously consider purchasing another top striker. Sanchez is a more of a wide-based supporting act than an out-and-out forward, and questions remain over Welbeck’s credentials concerning scoring on a regular basis.
Porto’s Jackson Martinez remains a long-term target for the north London giants and should be available at the end of the current season, whilst Saido Berahino remains an option for the January transfer window, and fans have yet to see Costa Rican star Joel Campbell given a proper chance.