French striker Olivier Giroud could be starting his first game for Arsenal this season, as manager Arsene Wenger says that he has improved his fitness over the past week.
The Gunners escaped with a narrow victory over Southampton last time around. They now face a difficult fixture against Mike Phelan’s high flying Hull City, who have been the surprise package of the season so far.
Giroud is yet to start a game for the club this season, and Wenger was grilled about the condition of the striker ahead of the game this weekend.
“Fitness-wise he has been behind Koscielny and Ozil,” said Wenger, according to the official club website.
“At the start it took him some time to get back. Since the last week, he’s slowly getting back to full fitness now.”
The Arsenal manager went on to praise the player for enduring criticism during Euro 2016, taking it in his stride and showing that he was the man for the job.
The 29-year-old is not everyone’s favourite player at the Emirates, but he would be an improvement over Alexis Sanchez in the central striker’s role.
Arsenal have a very strong squad to choose from ahead of the game against Hull. The team put in a good performance against the Ligue 1 champions PSG in their mid-week Champions League clash, snatching a 1-1 draw at the Parc de Princes.
Wenger is unlikely to tinker too much with the starting XI this weekend, though there are three possible changes that he will probably make. Granit Xhaka can come in for Francis Coquelin in central midfield, alongside Santi Cazorla.
Giroud is also likely to be handed a start, in place of the unimpressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Sanchez moves back to the left wing. Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi will make up the rest of the attacking quartet.
The defence will probably be unchanged, with a first choice back-four of Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin, and the return of Czech keeper Petr Cech.
Although Wenger hasn’t explicitly spoken about a return to the starting XI for Cech and Xhaka, it is almost a given considering the fact that they are definitely too good to be left on the bench for two games in a row without injury.