London - Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud faces an anxious
wait to see if his last-gasp equaliser against Manchester United was enough to
get him back in Arsene Wenger's plans on a permanent basis.
Giroud is a polarising figure in north London after a
lengthy spell of erratic displays, but he is hoping to be given a chance to
silence the critics in Wednesday's Champions League clash against Paris Saint
Many Arsenal supporters have called for Giroud to be sold
and Gunners boss Wenger appeared to lose faith in him after starting Alexis
Sanchez as his central striker for much of the season.
The 30-year-old has yet to start a Premier League game this
term and must have feared his days at the Emirates Stadium were numbered.
That may still prove the case eventually, but Giroud is
making a last-ditch effort to show he is worthy of more regular involvement.
He has scored four times in his last four appearances,
including the powerful header that salvaged a 1-1 draw in the final moments at
Old Trafford on Saturday.
Giroud's timely intervention against United came after he
scored twice, with his first two touches, as a substitute to inspire a 4-1 win
at Sunderland after his team had conceded an equaliser.
He also netted Arsenal's leveller in a Champions League
victory at Ludogorets after they had fallen 2-0 down to the minnows.
Ironically, one of his lowest moments this season came back
home in France when he was sent off in the last minute of a 1-1 draw at Paris
Now the French giants arrive at the Emirates just as Giroud
looks capable of finally arresting his decline.
While he might have lost the support of many among Arsenal's
fan-base, he retains the backing of his team-mates.
Also read: Giroud stars in Arsenal victory
- Impact player -
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is well aware of Giroud's
qualities and believes he can still prove an impact player.
"Sometimes, I think people don't realise Olivier's
qualities, because he works for the team," Cech said.
"He's useful when he starts games, but he's also useful
coming off the bench. He can make the difference.
"He's a very important player for us. He showed again
against United that even though he didn't start the game, he's ready."
Arsenal have spluttered of late in the Premier League,
drawing three of their last four matches.
But in Europe they are already through to the knockout
stages with two matches to spare.
That means they can focus on their shoot-out with PSG to
decide the group winners.
Currently level on points with the Parisians, Arsenal would
dearly love to top the group and improve their chances of avoiding a difficult
last 16 opponent.
Wenger underlined the importance of getting back in the
winning habit on Wednesday to boost their hopes both domestically and in
"I think getting back to winning games again, that is
very important," he said.
"We can accept a point against United, but we are
getting too many draws at the moment and with three points for a win you cannot
afford that too many times.
"It's important for us to get back to winning habits.
"When you are 1-0 down, you come back to 1-1 with a
minute to go, it feels more than a draw, that's for sure.
"But as well I hope it strengthens the belief inside
the squad, no matter what happens we can always come back."For
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