Olivier Giroud swears innocence after red card at PSG - Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger says Olivier Giroud swears he did nothing to warrant a sending off against Paris Saint-Germain, while the Arsenal boss also defended his selection of the "world-class" David Ospina.
Giroud was sent off in the final minutes of the 1-1 draw in the Champions League on Tuesday along with PSG's Marco Verratti after the two got into a scrap away from the ball.
The Arsenal striker had blocked Veratti's path in the run-up to the incident, but it was unclear whether the Frenchman had also done something to retaliate after the Italian got upset.
Wenger said he was among those who couldn't understand why Giroud had been sent off and said he would study the incident on tape.
"I couldn't [work it out] either. Giroud swears to me that he did nothing at all," Wenger told BT Sport. "I have to look at it again, because the ball was on the other side and suddenly there was a little bit of unrest there with Veratti and Giroud. I don't know why."
It is the second year in a row that Giroud has been sent off in the team's opening Champions League game, having earned a needless red card at Dinamo Zagreb last season.
Giroud was surprisingly not in the starting lineup but came on in the second half as Arsenal chased an equaliser after going 1-0 down in the opening minute. But Arsenal could appeal his suspension if they feel this sending off was unjust.
"He said to me he did nothing at all," Wenger said. "We have it certainly on the television, and I believe Giroud that he did nothing at all."
Giroud told reporters that his red card was "harsh, as Verratti threw himself to the ground."
He added: "We came away with a point from this match, which is good considering the opportunities [PSG] had. I would have preferred to start, but physically I am still not quite there, as the coach has told me."
Meanwhile, Wenger hailed goalkeeper Ospina for keeping Arsenal in the game at PSG, saying the decision to play the Colombian in the Champions League opener was made before the season even started.
Wenger raised many eyebrows when the starting lineups were announced after choosing to bench Petr Cech again despite a big blunder by Ospina in the Champions League last season. But the Colombian repaid his faith by making a string of crucial saves to limit PSG's advantage.
"This was maybe his [Ospina] most influential performance for us," Wenger said. "I have two world-class goalkeepers, I will repeat that. I know we have enough games to give them games. But if you cannot play... you cannot keep two world-class goalkeepers that don't get games."
Ospina stayed at Arsenal despite interest from Turkish club Besiktas this summer, and could be used by Wenger as his cup goalkeeper throughout the season. He was dropped from Champions League duty after the first two group matches last season, and injuries then kept him out of part of the team's FA Cup campaign.
Wenger made it clear that he had told Ospina he would be back in goal in the Champions League this season, but he wouldn't guarantee that it will stay that way despite his strong performance in Paris.
"We have the roles that the keepers know. And that's why it's important to have clear roles when the season starts and when that changes I inform them. But they know what the roles of the season are," Wenger said.
"I would not like to answer that question [if Ospina will keep the Champions League role] tonight, because we can always change our mind. It's down to performances.
"On what he delivered tonight, he has the right to stay in the team for the next Champions League game."
Ospina said he was satisfied to come away with a draw away from home.
"We knew this would be a tough match with so many great players on the pitch," the keeper said. "We came here with three points in mind but we still leave with a sense of satisfaction."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.