Arsenal’s midfield is slowly depleting ahead of their second Champions League clash against Olympiacos this week. Abou Diaby was earlier ruled out with a thigh strain for three weeks, and now Arteta has injured his ankle and will be a big doubt for the midweek clash with the Greeks.
Jack Wilshere completed just over an hour of football for the U21’s side and came through fine without any setbacks as he continues his recovery to full fitness, but he is still some way off competing for a first team place.
Arsene Wenger confirmed the following team news:
[on Jack Wilshere’s comeback game] He came through it alright. There was no reaction. We are pleased but it is now down to taking the right time to ease him slowly back. We are all very happy, and he especially must be exceptionally happy, but he has been out for 14 months.
[on Mikel Arteta missing training] Arteta will have a test tomorrow morning. We will make the decision then whether we include him in the squad or not. He has an ankle injury.
[on other team news] We lost Diaby, who has a thigh strain. He is definitely out for three weeks as well. Apart from Diaby and Arteta everyone came through well.
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[on Szczesny] He is injured and will not be back for two or three weeks.
With both Diaby and Arteta missing, Wenger will be sweating on the fitness of Francis Coquelin who was ruled out at the weekend with illness. He will be the natural replacement for Arteta in the holding role, so hopefully he will be available.
Ramsey will most likely fill Diaby’s boots as the box to box midfielder, with Cazorla sitting in behind the striker. I’d quite like to see Walcott start the fixture who has not had many chances to shine apart from Coventry as he can destroy the Greek champions defence with his speed, and Giroud should get a start up front too.
With Szczesny still injured Mannone will start between the sticks as usual with youngster Shea the backup with Martinez ineligible.
Have any thoughts on the team news and suggested lineups? Feel free to comment below or in allArsenal’s forum under the Matchday thread for this Wednesday’s match.