Arsenal are set to receive a big boost ahead of this weekends North London derby with the news that Szczesny, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are closing in on their returns from injury while the fatigued Sagna will have a test with the two former.
However there is still uncertainty over Abou Diaby’s spell on the sideline as nothing has been explained about his continued absence. The Frenchman was injured on September 29th and Wenger revealed he would be out for two-three weeks yet there has been no word of a relapse.
But there is a light at the end of the injury tunnel (touch wood) as Gervinho too looks set for a return next week, however the Gunners need Gibbs back and fast.
Arsene Wenger revealed the following team news:
[on team news] Of course we have long-term injuries like Rosicky (tendon), Diaby (thigh) and Gibbs (thigh) who are not back at the moment. All the others have little knocks and those decisions will be made on Friday.
[on those ‘others’] Szczesny (ankle), Walcott (muscle), Chamberlain (hip) – they all have a chance to be in the squad. Walcott came off against Fulham and will have a test tomorrow [Friday]. So will Szczesny.
[on Sagna] He has a test tomorrow [Friday]. It is just for general fatigue. He’s played three games quickly but before that he didn’t play for six months.
[on Gervinho] He is still out [with an ankle problem]. He has a chance to be fit for next week.
Diaby’s injury is very worrying. He still does not seem close to a return judging by Wenger’s brief dismissals of his availability in recent weeks and he was vital to the midfield in the earlier matches prior to the Gunners horrible run of form.
Wenger has continually placed faith in the Frenchman but it seems he cannot shake the constant injuries that have blighted his career and this is supposed to be his breakthrough season. Hopefully he returns to full fitness soon otherwise it will be the end of his Gunners career.
But thankfully there is more positive news for this weekends tie with the Spuds with the returning Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain likely to be available for selection. The English duo will provide Wenger with more options out wide which will be a welcomed boost with a lack of depth from the bench an issue in recent matches. As for Szcz, it will be interesting to see if Wenger chooses to replace Mannone with the Italian filling in reasonably admirably for the injured Pole. However Arsenal’s defence needs a shakeup after shipping a serious amount of goals against in recent weeks, so Szczesny could be the key to revitalizing the jaded backline.
The Spuds are suffering their own injury worries at present with Dembele missing however Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe should make the tie (unfortunately). But be sure to check back later for the full Match Preview & Betting Preview for this weekends vital tie.