Arsenal team news: French duo set to be picked for Arsenal clash against West Brom
By Editor Wayne Veysey| Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud are expected to start Arsenal’s match at West Brom on Saturday afternoon, Football Insider sources understand.
Manager Arsene Wenger raised the possibility at his media briefing on Thursday that the duo could be left out after being affected following the Paris terror attacks.
But a dressing-room source has told Football Insider that Wenger is ready to pick Koscielny, 30, and Giroud, 29, after being convinced they are fully focused on the match.
The manager has held heart-to-hearts with both players, who were in the France team against Germany at the Stade de France eight days ago as the atrocities struck Paris.
Wenger claimed he “didn’t recognise” Koscielny in France’s subsequent 2-0 defeat to England on Tuesday as the defender struggled to come to terms with the emotions of the occasion.
The Arsenal manager, who was in the French capital when the terror attacks took place, revealed how troubled Koscielny was by the events.
“You could see that on Tuesday night he was not himself,” explained Wenger on Thursday. “It affected him deeply and I didn’t recognise the player I saw on Friday night on Tuesday night.
“I will talk with him. It’s a big game for us. I have not talked to him yet, but I will talk to him to see if he is completely recovered and focused.
“You have to trust the player in these kind of situations. Today in the Premier League you don’t get away with it with 80 per cent focus.
“You have to be completely committed. What I will want from him is that he’s completely committed and feels ready. If not, I will not play him.”
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Giroud was a second-half substitute against England on Tuesday and scored the previous Friday as France beat Germany.