Arsène Wenger believes his side will not be too affected by some of the injuries and absentees against Chelsea this weekend.
Mikel Arteta has been ruled out for the season after sustaining ankle injury in Monday’s loss to Wigan, while Yossi Benayoun who has been a regular in recent weeks is unable to play against his parent club due to loan restrictions.
Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby have been unable to regain full fitness after facing lengthy spells on the sidelines, however the latter is likely to be on the bench after playing a part in a friendly for the reserves earlier in the week.
But Wenger maintains that the teams attitude is in the right place and they can overcome the Blues at the Emirates, he said in his Pre-match conference:
It is not ideal but we cannot complain, we have to overcome that. We are in a situation where we have four big games.
You always expect in April that not everybody will be on board and I think our game is based on collective play. That is why we have to focus on our team play and not think about who is here or not here.
Arteta is out for the rest of the season but fortunately he doesn’t need surgery. But he is out for six to eight weeks so he will be back for pre-season. Benayoun is ineligible because of course he belongs to Chelsea and Koscielny is back from suspension.
Apart from that Diaby is back in the squad and Coquelin is back in the squad. That is all the news we have.
Wenger’s optimism has certainly taken a boost with the news that potent striker Didier Drogba will miss the tie due to a knee injury. The Ivorian is Arsenal’s most feared striker as he’s scored a massive 13 goals in 14 games against the Gunners over the years and they have always won against Arsenal when Drogba is on the team sheet.
The Blues are also without defensive duo Luiz and Ivanovic so the tie on paper looks like its in Arsenal’s favour with Chelsea battling against Barcelona for 90 minutes in midweek.
But here’s an interesting fact that Gooners don’t want to hear, the Gunners have failed to win a Premier League game without Arteta this season. But Wenger has an ace up his sleeve that he should use against Chelsea…which is Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The youngster excelled in the CAM role against AC Milan and Ramsey has proven in recent weeks he just isn’t in form. Don’t get me wrong he is a quality player but right now he is too slow on the ball and his finishing is appalling. This would allow Rosicky to play a more box-to-box role and also allow Gervinho to partner Walcott on the wings. How does that sound for a lineup? The Arsenal to win bet of evens is sounding pretty good right now..
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Chamberlain Gervinho
Van Persie (c)