LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Olivier Giroud will not shirk the responsibility of spearheading the club's bid to secure a place in next season's Champions League.
France striker Giroud came in for criticism for his failure to convert a number of chances in the Gunners' goalless home draw with Everton this week.
Arsenal's failure to win that game opened the door for Chelsea to move above them into third place, although the places will be reversed if Wenger's side can beat Fulham at Craven Cottage today, 24 hours before the Blues travel to Liverpool. Wenger will again ask Giroud to lead the attack and the manager is convinced the forward, who has scored 17 goals since his move from Montpellier last year, has a major role to play in the run-in.
"He is very extrovert, but he has a positive nature,” he said. "He stands up for what he has done and I feel he deals quite well with that. He can absorb the body-to-body (challenges) because he's a strong guy. I think you will see more from him next season, and there's a lot more to come from him."
Bale, Suarez lead player of year nominations
Meanwhile, the controversial Luis Suarez and Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale lead the nominations for the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year award, which were announced yesterday.
Bale, 23, is the favourite to win the prize for the second time in three seasons but Suarez has enjoyed a fine campaign with Liverpool, scoring a total of 29 goals, while Robin van Persie will hope to win the award for the second year in succession.
There is no representation from last year's champions Manchester City, with United's Michael Carrick and Chelsea duo Juan Mata and Eden Hazard completing the list.
Bale and Hazard have both also been nominated for the Young Player prize, a category in which they face competition from Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere.
Winners of both awards will be announced on April 28.
Fulham v Arsenal
Norwich v Reading
QPR v Stoke
Sunderland v Everton
Swansea v Soton
West Brom v Newcastle
West Ham v Wigan
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2013.
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