Is Arsene Wenger's claim about under-fire Arsenal star Olivier Giroud accurate?

Arsene Wenger claims Olivier Giroud has played more games this season than any other striker in the league. Is he right?

Arsene Wenger pulled out a surprise over the weekend by picking Yaya Sanogo ahead of Olivier Giroud.

He hinted in his morning press conference that Giroud is feeling shattered, the view of many observers, with the need to keep him fresh for the league run in his motivation.

He told "Olivier Giroud is a fantastic team player. He has gone through a little bit more of a difficult period, but that happens to any striker.

"Striker is the most demanding position, he has played many, many games - more games than any other striker in the Premier League, and that of course is very demanding."

So what about his claim that Giroud has played more games than his peers. Is this accurate? Here's a look at the most frequently used strikers in the Premier League. 

Frazier Campbell Cardiff FW 33 2,447 6
Rickie Lambert Southampton FW 33 2,518 11
Jay Rodriguez Southampton FW 33 2,567 15
Andreas Weimann Aston Villa FW 32 2,246 3
Peter Crouch Stoke FW 31 2,479 8
Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 31 2,669 13
Yoan Gouffran Newcastle FW 31 2,293 6
Wilfried Bony Swansea FW 30 2,112 11
Gary Hooper Norwich FW 29 1,887 5

Giroud has made two less starts than three forwards, and one less than another - yet when it comes to minutes played, his total of 2,669 is higher than any striker in the Premier League.

And this is without taking into account appearances outside of the competition. 

Giroud has, including qualifiers, played nine Champions League matches, featuring in four FA Cup games, and once in the League Cup. And then there have been five appearances for France in there too.

None of the players who feature so highly in the table above have Champions League appearances to their name, so they can afford to play so often. Wenger is certainly correct in his assertion.

It adds up to a total of 50 appearances already for the striker, and the campaign is not even done yet.

It's no wonder he is looking tired, and no wonder Arsene Wenger is looking to mix it up, even despite the lack of quality alternatives.

Yet there should be no complaints here either. Wenger knew this heading into the season, and he certainly was aware in January. His failure to buy a striker in the two transfer windows now lead to his limited options, and he only has himself to blame.

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