The Gunners are set to face Reading on Tuesday evening as part of the Capital One Cup without injured trio Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho and Szczesny.
Arsenal’s number one goalkeeper is closing in on his return after his ankle injury that has kept him out since the Southampton fixture, but it won’t be against Reading with youngster Damian Martinez likely to be selected as Wenger opts to give some youth talent first team experience.
The extent of Gervinho’s ankle injury is still unknown with the Ivorian attacker undergoing a scan and is looking likely to miss this weekend’s blockbuster clash with Manchester United.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is also set to sit out the Reading match as Wenger will utilize the likes of Arshavin and youngster Gnabry and rest the Englishman for the trip to Old Trafford.
Wenger revealed the following team news as revealed on Arsenal’s official website:
[on Gervinho] He has an ankle problem. How long he will be out, we don’t know. He has a scan today (Monday).
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[on Szczesny] He is close, but not ready for the Reading game.
[on other team news] Oxlade-Chamberlain is not available for this game. He would have loved to play. Apart from that, I don’t think anyone else will be back.
[on any other young players being out] No, the players we want to be available are available.
[on Andrey Arshavin’s attitude as a professional] I say that because [his attitude] has been questioned. I don’t tolerate that. If that was the case I would not speak about it.
But Andrey comes in every day and practices well, he is focused and wants to do well. I insist on this, because it was questioned and it is completely unjustified. In this case perception is not reality.
He is a classy player and a top professional with a great attitude. You could see that when he came on [against QPR], his brightness and his intelligence with the final ball is fantastic.
Once again we will see a mix of experience and young talent on show against Reading with Martinez in goal, Jenkinson, Miquel, Djourou and perhaps Santos (depending upon Gibbs’ recovery for the weekend) at the back. Midfield will most likely consist of Coquelin, Frimpong and Arshavin with Gnabry, Walcott and Chamakh in attack.
It will be a difficult match for the Gunners, but hopefully with a solid backline, a midfield with some experience and an exciting attack will lead to a victory. Chamakh would be my main worry as he has failed to score in a long, long time, it would be more convincing to see Walcott trialed up front as he could destroy Reading with his pace.
Arshavin could play a key role in the match if he is played centrally. He is still agile, tricky and suits the central, attacking role. The little Russian would be able to play in the likes of Walcott and Gnabry which is something the Gunners will need – attacking instinct and precise final balls.
One other player that could start is Aaron Ramsey. He has played in an unfamiliar right wing position recently and with Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain back he is likely to be on the bench this weekend so Wenger could fancy starting the Welshman.
What are your thoughts about the upcoming Reading match? Who do you think will start? Feel free to comment below or under the matchday thread in the allarsenal forums.