Arsenal are facing an injury crisis between the sticks already with their two best goalkeepers injured, and fourth choice Martinez ineligible to play against Montpellier tomorrow.
There is some positive news however as injured Abou Diaby returns to the team after sitting out the weekends 6-1 thumping over Southampton, and replaces Andrey Arshavin in the squad.
Arsene Wenger revealed the following team news ahead of the Gunners first Champions League outing this season:
There are a couple of changes – we have Diaby back in the squad. He is back available.
[on James Shea] He was on the list as goalkeeper No 5 at the beginning of the season and now he is No 2! That shows you how quickly football can change. Martinez is ineligible for the B list and Wojciech [Szczesny] and Fabianski are injured. So Mannone will play tomorrow.
[on Szczesny] I don’t think [his injury was a factor in Saturday’s performance]. He did it before the game. I am not sure how it affected the goal he conceded. He says not but of course we had a question in our minds before the game: do we change him or not? We decided to leave him on.
Prior to the Southampton fixture I felt Mannone should have been rewarded another start after playing well in the absence of Szczesny, and the Poles ankle injury should have dictated that even further – but it is in the past now and the Italian will get another chance to shine against Montpellier. Fingers crossed he doesn’t sustain an injury.
Full squad list:
Hypothetically it seems hard to believe that Andrey Arshavin is struggling to make the team sheet, but when you scroll through the names it is not difficult to see why. The squad is strong, and if Wenger rotates as necessary then we will have a big season if we can avoid injuries to key players.
The likely starting lineup? Mertesacker should get a rest allowing Koscielny to come in, while Theo Walcott will get his chance to start after sitting out majority of the past three matches. Giroud should also get the nod up front, while Podolski hopefully will be rested unless things go pear shaped and allow Gervinho to slot back into left wing. The midfield? The usual trio of Diaby, Arteta and Cazorla seems like a must.
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