Arsenal will once again be without striker Olivier Giroud as they visit Nottingham Forest in the third round of the re-branded EFL Cup competition tomorrow night (20 September). The France international missed a lively 4-1 victory at newly-promoted Hull City on Saturday after sustaining a toe injury before being sent off in stoppage time of the opening Champions League Group A draw against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.
Giroud has been limited to just three substitute cameos across all competitions for the Gunners so far this term after being given a late pre-season break in the aftermath of France's run to the final of Euro 2016. Despite retaining his place for Les Bleus and featuring in their World Cup qualifier in Belarus, the oft-maligned 29-year-old faces a battle to secure regular first-team football at club level with Alexis Sanchez currently leading the line and Arsenal having spent £17.1m ($22.3m) to sign Spanish forward Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Coruna.
Wenger recently explained that such a lack of regular action was due to Giroud lagging behind fellow European Championship returnees Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil in terms of recovery and that the former Montpellier frontman's return to full fitness had been something of a slow process.
While his toe problem initially sounded relatively minor, Arsene Wenger has revealed that his compatriot will play no part against Championship side Forest and will be reassessed ahead of the high-profile top-flight clash at home to Chelsea next weekend.
"Everyone came out of the Hull game well," the manager was quoted as saying by Arsenal's website in an official injury update released in lieu of the usual pre-match press conference. "Giroud is still not available - we will see at the end of the week if he can join in [ahead of the Chelsea match]."
Aaron Ramsey had already been ruled out of that cup tie at the City Ground and it seems that Chelsea will also come too soon for his return. The Welsh midfielder was deemed fit enough to start for Arsenal in their opening day 4-3 defeat to Liverpool despite his own considerable exertions at the Euros, lasting little over an hour before being replaced due to a hamstring injury.
"He is still out – I don't think he will be ready for the weekend either," Wenger, who also revealed that right-back Carl Jenkinson is improving as he continues to recover from a cruciate ligament injury suffered on loan at West Ham United in February, added.
While Giroud and Ramsey will be absent at Forest, Gabriel Paulista could be in line to make his first appearance of the season in the East Midlands. The central defender returned to training last week after being stretchered off with an ankle problem during a pre-season victory over Manchester City in Gothenburg.
"He has a chance to play against Forest," Wenger confirmed.
Captain Per Mertesacker and striker Danny Welbeck remain long-term absentees, however. Arsenal are likely to come up against one of their former players on Tuesday after Nicklas Bendtner joined Nottingham Forest just a fortnight ago, having earlier seen his contract terminated by Wolfsburg. Former Gunners Armand Traore and Henri Lansbury also feature in Philippe Montanier's current squad.