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Giroud important to Arsenal, says Wenger

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Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring against Southampton during the English Premier League match at St Mary’s Stadium in southern England, on December 10, 2017

LONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 11- Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger stressed that Olivier Giroud remains an important member of his squad after rescuing a point against Southampton on Sunday.

The France international stepped off the bench to clinch a 1-1 draw for the Gunners with an 88th-minute header, after Charlie Austin had opened the scoring in the third minute at St Mary’s.

It was Giroud’s fourth Premier League goal of the season in his 13th appearance as a substitute, and Wenger admits the striker will be rewarded with his first top-flight start soon enough.

The 31-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Everton during the off-season and his future is likely to be the subject of speculation once more in January, but his manager is counting on him.

“He is important – why should we lose an important player? It is up to us [and not Giroud],” Wenger said after the match.

“He will start more games. I believe as well it’s always the same when you have many good players, some of them cannot play.

“The question you get is always why does the guy who is good not play? Because if you take him on you have another guy who is good who will not play, it is as simple as that.”

The French coach was seen complaining to the fourth official on a number of occasions at apparent time wasting from the Saints after the break.

And he said afterwards: “I must say I am very frustrated as in the second half there was a lot of time-wasting.

“Especially on the final ball on the counter-attack, it is very frustrating to give the advantage to the guy who had the foul because we were not only called back.

“We were three against one but we played it quick and the referee called the ball back without any reason and that was a huge advantage for Southampton in the final minute.”

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