Arsene Wenger insists Olivier Giroud will not leave Arsenal in January despite the France striker’s lack of starting opportunities.
Giroud has yet to start a Premier League game this season, but he showed his value coming off the bench when he headed a late equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday.
It was his fourth league goal in 13 substitute appearances and while Giroud may be growing frustrated at his lack of starts, Wenger is determined to hold on to the player when the transfer window opens.
“Why should we lose an important player?” said the Arsenal manager of a striker who was close to joining Everton at the end of the last transfer window.
“It’s up to us.”
Wenger added: “Yes he will start games. It’s always the same, when you have many good players, some of them cannot play.
“The question you get is always why does a guy who is good not play? Because if you take him on, you have another guy who is good who will not play. It is as simple as that.
“He will start games because we play every three days. He is mentally very strong and we have to be grateful to a player who comes on when he is needed. It is a remarkable achievement.”
Giroud’s goal, which cancelled out Charlie Austin’s third minute opener, was the 17th time the France international has scored from the bench, six behind Jermain Defoe in the Premier League all-time list and alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Kanu.
“I always try to bring something for the team when I come on the pitch,” Giroud said.
“Today we missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. It was a good cross from Alexis.
“I tried to be at the right place at the right time. It is nice to come back.”
The point meant Wenger’s side remain outside the top four and the manager admitted his players were still feeling the effects of last weekend’s home defeat of Manchester United when they were caught cold by Austin’s early finish.
– Apprehensive –
“I felt that the Man United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said.
“It was a bit in their head, and a bit apprehensive, to start well again. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem, because you create even a bigger one.
“We played a big part of the game with a back-four today. But away from home recently we had done quite well, we’ve won games.
“Today we played a team who was highly determined, defended every single ball.
“I must say I’m frustrated because in the second half there was a lot of time-wasting, especially on the final ball.
“The waste of time is becoming a real problem in England in the last two seasons.
“First, it has to be in the head of the players to respect the game and to play. Then it is up to the referees to act. The answer is in the authority of the referee. They have it in their power.”
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino believes his side’s performance confirms they are moving in the right direction.
“When you play against Arsenal who one of the biggest teams in the Premier League you have to be close to excellent to win this game. I feel we are growing,” he said.
“We were competitive, that is one of my goals. We have another possibility Wednesday and hopefully we can continue in this way.”