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Giroud realises Gunners have to offer key performers time off

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

By Jim van Wijk

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud shows his dejection as he rues a missed chance against Everton last weekend. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud shows his dejection as he rues a missed chance against Everton last weekend. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

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in Naples

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud accepts he will need a rest from time to time this season – even if he is not very good at watching from the bench.

The France international returned to lead the Arsenal attack in the 1-1 Premier League draw against Everton last Sunday, having been rested for the midweek win over Hull City, when Nicklas Bendtner scored his first goal for the club since March 2011.

Giroud – who could have snatched all three points for the league leaders against the Toffees when his 25-yard drive struck the woodwork in stoppage time – understands Arsenal will need all of their squad when called upon if they are to maintain their challenge for honours into 2014, which continues away to Napoli in their last UEFA Champions League group match tonight.

"It did feel strange [to be on the bench against Hull] and I was a bit frustrated because I really want to play every game," Giroud said.

"But the boss [manager Arsene Wenger] said he had reason to leave me on the bench because it is better to have a rest sometimes, but I'm obviously just really happy that the team won the game."

Arsenal will need to be at their best again to return from Stadio San Paolo with a positive result against Napoli coach Rafael Benitez's side, who need victory to maintain their hopes of qualification.

Nevertheless, the Gunners head to Italy three points clear at the top of Group F and so a draw would be good enough to secure first place and with it seeding for the knock-out stages. Even defeat could also see Arsenal progress, depending on the final scoreline and also Borussia Dortmund's result in Marseille.

Wenger does not want his team to dwell on the frustrations of failing to hold out for victory over Everton, which would have extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.

"We should not be disappointed too much because this team has great spirit and fights in every single game," he said.

The Gunners' boss, though, insists focus must not be on anything other than the next challenge, which will see his side play six matches in some 21 days.

Arsenal tackle Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime and then go into a showdown with Chelsea on December 23 as the festive fixtures get into full swing – with the small matter of a north London derby against Tottenham in the FA Cup third round on January 4 also on the horizon.

However, Wenger stressed: "We have so many games coming up that the Tottenham game does not concern me at the moment.

"We will of course try to play well in the FA Cup. But at the moment, let's just prepare for the Champions League," the Frenchman added.

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