Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not think Olivier Giroud will be fit to face Liverpool on Friday night (22 December) after the striker suffered a hamstring injury during his side's 1-0 win over West Ham United on Tuesday but he is confident Frances Coquelin will be available for selection despite sustaining a knock against the Irons.
Giroud was substituted with around 15 minutes remaining against West Ham and looked in some discomfort as he trudged gingerly off the pitch. Coquelin, a maligned and seldom utilised figure in north London, soon followed his compatriot down the tunnel with what looked like a groin problem.
Arsenal boss Wenger's fears over Giroud were realised ahead of the visit of Liverpool, who ran out 4-3 winners in the same fixture last season, but he was encouraged by news of Coquelin's fitness; the former Charlton Athletic loanee was in fact only suffering from a severe bout of cramp.
"It doesn't look very good for him [Giroud]. I think he's out of Friday night," Wenger said in his post-match press conference.
The Arsenal boss was able to offer encouragement over Coquelin, whose apparent knock does not looke serious enough to sideline him for the visit of Liverpool: "Coquelin has cramp. I don't think he will be out for Friday."
News of Giroud's knock is slightly eased by the timely return to fitness of Danny Welbeck, who scored the only goal against West Ham to secure Arsenal's place in the final four of the Carabao Cup. Wenger was pleased to see the former Manchester United star complete a match ahead of Liverpool, and he may well utilise the England international's talents against the Reds.
"He scored and that will be good for him. He lasted 90 minutes and that's a positive," Wenger said.
I felt we played with quality and spirit and pace in the first half," Wenger added. "For 90 minutes we looked solid defensively. Second half we lost a bit of pace and were less creative. So it was down to not making a mistake.
"Overall it's a positive night, other than we lost Olivier Giroud. What is worrying is when you start to lose players. You can't afford to lose another one."