• Premier League

Giroud fit to face Manchester United

ESPN staff
November 20, 2014
Angel Di Maria headlines injury concerns ahead of Manchester United's trip to Arsenal

Olivier Giroud is available for Arsenal's Premier League clash against Manchester United on Saturday, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

Giroud, 28, has not played since August 23 when he suffered a fractured tibia in the 2-2 draw at Everton.

Giroud was initially not expected to be back until near the end of the year, but after resuming training earlier this month he could now feature at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Club captain Mikel Arteta is also on the verge of returning to boost Arsenal's midfield options this weekend.

"Giroud and Arteta are both available," Wenger told the club's official website. "It's just a question of how ready they are. But they are available.

"[Giroud] is three or four weeks ahead of schedule. Originally we planned to have him back for competition at the beginning of next year. So he's one month ahead."

Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez have carried the responsibility of scoring goals in Giroud's absence, netting 12 and five goals respectively in the France international's absence.

When asked if Arsenal had become reliant on Welbeck, Wenger said: "Yes, and on Sanchez as well. But we have Giroud back, we have [Theo] Walcott back. Slowly they will integrate into the team again and give us different options.

Two other Frenchman who are long-term absentees are defenders Laurent Koscielny and Mathieu Debuchy, but Wenger gave a positive view of their respective recoveries too.

"Koscielny and Debuchy are doing well, they are out on the field [working] again," he said. "We have to see now. Usually field work is three weeks away from full group training. Then there is fitness.

"It looks straightforward for Debuchy. It's not inflammation, it's just repairing surgery. For Koscielny, it depends how well he responds to training. At the moment he looks good."

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