Arsene Wenger is urging his Arsenal team to “finish the job” against French champions Paris St Germain on Wednesday by ensuring they top their Champions League group.
Wenger said on Tuesday that it felt like a luxury to have qualification for the knockout stages in the bag but he is determined that his side, currently on an unbeaten 17-match streak, now cash in on home advantage by winning group A.
Who will lead their assault on PSG’s defence, though, remains uncertain as Wenger has not decided whether to give his in-form “Super sub” Olivier Giroud a start at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal and PSG have both qualified, amassing 10 points apiece, so the match feels like a straight shootout for the winner’s spot and a potentially easier round of 16 tie.
“We have done the job in a convincing way. It is a luxury to be qualified after four games,” Wenger told a news conference.
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“We have done it away from home. Now, we have to finish the job at home. We played a draw there and now it is down to us to win the game.”
Arsenal were lucky to scrape a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday but Giroud’s late headed equaliser, his third league goal of the season, represented a bright spot.
He has not started a league match this season, seeing only 109 minutes of action, as Wenger has utlilised him as a weapon to be brought off the bench.
Yet his goals-per-minute strike rate is the best in the division with Wenger conceding on Saturday that while desperate for more playing time, Giroud was remaining angry in a positive way.
“He is not forever on the bench. He will play games,” Wenger said. “I have not decided (if he will start against PSG).”
The likelihood is the Frenchman will see more action in the near future with Wenger confirming he would try to give key striker Alexis Sanchez a winter break to help him avoid burn-out.
Sanchez suffered an injury on international duty but Wenger reported he had “recovered completely” and refuted reports that the Chilean had been forced to play against Manchester United.
“I never forced in my whole life a player to play. Suggestions we forced him to play are wrong,” Wenger said.
“If I have the possibility I would like to give a winter break to everyone. I just had a chance to do it with (Mesut) Ozil.”