Arsene Wenger has admitted Abou Diaby will have a test on Friday morning before deciding whether he will be available for this weekends home fixture against Southampton, after the Frenchman returned to the club injured from international duty.
There is better news however as Wojciech Szczesny has fully recovered and will be ready to fight for the number one spot again, and long term absentees Jack Wilshere, Emmanuel Frimpong, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky are progressing well and will return ‘soon’.
Wenger revealed the following team news on Arsenal’s official website:
[Abou Diaby] He will have a test on Friday morning and we will go from there. At the moment he is 50:50. It is a small muscular problem that is very minor. But of course we are in the situation that, because we play so many games now, should we take a gamble or not with him? We are playing on Saturday, on Tuesday and then we go to Manchester City.
[On the goalkeepers] Lukasz Fabianski is out with a shoulder problem. He has come back from Poland with a shoulder problem and Wojciech is perfectly fit and ready. He will be in the squad.
[On any other injuries] There are none from the international games. The only problem we have at the moment is that Theo Walcott is in bed with a virus. He missed the England game with a virus. He should be back today, so we will have to see how well he has recovered from that.
[On Emmanuel Frimpong] He is very close. He joins the squad again next week for complete, normal training. It is very good news because he is really fit and ready. He has worked very hard and we are amazed how good he looks at the moment.
[On long-term absentees] Wilshere is not far away. Sagna is not far away. At the moment the injured players look like they are recovering well. The main injuries are Frimpong who is recovering well, Wilshere is short-term, Sagna around two weeks and Rosicky around two to three weeks.
Theo Walcott is still quite a doubt after his recent sickness which will have a big effect on his fitness, so even if he does return in time he will still be restricted to the bench against his former club.
The main concern will be for the fitness for Abou Diaby who has been a man reborn since his full recovery from his injury nightmares. He withdrew from the French team this week with ‘muscular discomfort’, however Wenger stressed it is nothing too serious. Fingers crossed he will make a full recovery in time for the Southampton match as he has been an integral part of the successful midfield trio that have dominated in the Gunners opening matches.
Wilshere’s return will be timely too as it will allow Wenger to rotate more efficiently with Champions League midweek fixture on the horizon, and Sagna will provide an even bigger boost to the solid Arsenal backline.
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