Olivier Giroud eclipsed new signing Alexandre Lacazette by scoring the opener as Arsenal beat Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 in a friendly on Saturday amid uncertainty about the striker’s future with the London club.
“There is a lot of speculation,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of Giroud. “I have many times said that I have a huge respect for Olivier Giroud for the man he is and the way he loves our club. Even with all the speculation he is focused and does his job. I always said (that I expect him to stay). I was always consistent with that.”
But Giroud continues to be linked with a move from Arsenal, especially after Lacazette joined from French club Lyon 60 million euros ($68 million) last week. The 26-year-old striker made his first start for Arsenal, but couldn’t score as he did from the bench in a 2-0 victory over Sydney FC on Thursday.
“Lacazette will play most of the time as center forward,” Wenger said. “He can play in any system because he’s a provider as well, he can combine and play in a 4-4-2. At the moment he plays a little bit behind Giroud, tonight he was more on the left, and he can play in that position as well.”
Despite Lacazette having several chances to score in Saturday’s pre-season exhibition, the Arsenal goals came in an 11-minute spell from Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny.
Steve Lustica scored for the Wanderers in the second half.
Arsenal’s two tour matches in Sydney attracted about 160,000 to the Olympic stadium over two nights.