Arsene Wenger has cleared up the fitness situation within his squad (team news here) for this weekend’s home fixture against Norwich City, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Bacary Sagna and Santi Cazorla facing late tests.
The Frenchman has also hinted Ramsey and potentially Ozil could face some rotation after playing a lot of minutes during the international break coupled with a tough fixture list on the horizon.
He told Arsenal Player:
We start to look at it [the minutes each player has played] and you get their [the players’] feeling as well.
You add that to the number of minutes they have played since the start of the season, then you make your decisions. Overall we do not come off it [the international break] too bad because Koscielny didn’t play the first game at all, Giroud played only one half and 80 minutes in the second.
The only one who played again over the two games is Aaron Ramsey, and apart from that Mertesacker played only one, Ozil played nearly two full games. You look at it [the numbers] because we play so many games now. That’s why it’s important to have players like Cazorla, like Rosicky and hopefully Walcott, Podolski and Chamberlain back soon.
As the great Flamini vs Arteta/Flamini & Arteta debate continues, Walcott remains on the sidelines and Rosicky returns to fitness, we’ve had a stab at two possible scenarios:
Sagna Koscielny Mertesacker (c) Gibbs
Jenkinson Koscielny Mertesacker (c) Gibbs
On the face of it the pessimistic lineup isn’t looking too bad. Perhaps Ramsey could do with a break especially with Dortmund on the horizon, similarly with Ozil. But hopefully Cazorla is fit to feature to enable Wilshere to shift into the middle should Ramsey be rested.
Elsewhere in the midfield Flamini has been excellent and is un-droppable, he provides a gritty shield for our defence, barks orders and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. When partnered with Arteta, the Frenchman was often found in the attacking third which is definitely not his strength, whereas if he’s partnered with the in-form Ramsey or Wilshere his primary objective is to sit.
Flamini also has four yellows already, one more and he is suspended. It is probably best if he receives one this week and misses the Palace match – a cheeky, tactical yellow perhaps?
What are your thoughts Gooners? What do you think of our formations? Got any other suggestions? Comment below with your ideas..