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Wenger may be hamstrung by festive fixture congestion

Arsenal boss confirms striker Olivier Giroud will miss Friday’s night’s Premier League clash against Liverpool at the Emirates

21 December, 2017 — By Steve Barnett

Arsene Wenger: ‘What is very worrying in my job is when you start to lose players, like we have with Giroud’

ARSENE Wenger has admitted that he is “worried” about the effect Arsenal’s congested fixture list will have on his players.

The Gunners added another match to their hectic schedule on Tuesday night when they beat West Ham 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium to book their place in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup.

The victory came at a cost as Olivier Giroud was potentially ruled out of the festive period after sustaining a hamstring injury, while Francis Coquelin also picked up a muscle strain.

“It is a very demanding fixtures list, especially because we already have a tough schedule behind us,” said Wenger.

“We have to sit down and analyse very well what we can do. What is very worrying in my job is when you start to lose players, like we have with Giroud.

“After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule.”

“When you look at our fixtures in January and February, you cannot imagine we will always play with the same players in every game,” the Arsenal boss added.

“Will I change from Premier League game to Premier League or only in the Carabao Cup? I don’t know yet. I have to look at the fixtures to see what I do.”

Reflecting on his current injury concerns, Wenger confirmed that Giroud will miss Friday’s visit of Liverpool, while sharing his fears that the French striker faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“In his statement to me, it doesn’t look very good,” he said. “We have to wait and see. Nowadays you do the scan 48 hours after the injury. That will happen on Thursday, then we’ll have a precise kind of grade on what his hamstring is.

“When you listen to him, the pain is quite big, but the grade is not always linked with the intensity of the pain.

“Let’s just hope it will not be too bad.”

• Meanwhile former Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky has retired from football at the age of 37. Rosicky’s 10-year spell with the Gunners was plagued by injury, and the former Czech Republic international has put his decision to hang up his boots down to being unable to keep up with the physical demands of football.

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