Arsene Wenger will have a tough job selecting his lineup to face Chelsea this week in the Capital One Cup, with a number of exciting youngsters looking unlikely to be fit for the tie.
Serge Gnabry seemed penned in to start on Tuesday evening but has an ankle knock and will have further tests. Gedion Zelalem has returned to training after a lengthy lay-off but is still short of featuring with the first team.
Another German Thomas Eisfeld would have also been expected to be involved but is suffering from a back problem, while Emmanuel Frimpong also appears to be short after returning for his respective injury.
One youngster that will be involved is Isaac Hayden who made his full Arsenal debut in the last round against West Bromwich Albion, he will most likely feature alongside Jack Wilshere in central midfield
Wenger also gave an update on Mathieu Flamini, confirming again that it is a groin injury he suffered early on in Saturday’s tie against Crystal Palace.
The Arsenal boss revealed the following team news on Arsenal’s offical website:
[on Mathieu Flamini] He has a scan today and then we will get the results as to how long he will be out. It doesn’t look like a bad muscle injury but honestly it’s too early to give you a precise answer. It’s a groin injury.
[on Jack Wilshere] Yes, he is OK to play.
[on Mikel Arteta]
He is suspended for one game, so I will not appeal.
[on other injuries] Serge Gnabry has a problem, he got a kick on the ankle. He will be assessed tomorrow. After that we will decide who plays and who doesn’t play. I will decide [on Tuesday]. Eisfeld has a back problem.
[on Gedion Zelalem] He is not yet available. He had a knee problem. He is back in full training but he has not played yet. He will play 45 minutes with the under-18 team later this week.
[on Emmanuel Frimpong] He is still short of competition. Isaac Hayden will be involved, Ryo and Gnabry if he’s fit.
Wenger also elaborated on his inclusion of youngster Hayden who can operate either as a centre half or in the defensive midfield role. The Frenchman has been impressed with the 18-year-old’s strength and intelligence, and feels he has the quality to play in the high intensity game at Emirates on Tuesday evening.
He told Arsenal Player:
I like his strengths in the duels. I like his capacity of concentration and I believe as well that technically he is very focused to do well.
He is committed and at half-time [in West Brom game] I told him to behave well because he was on a yellow card and he did that well in the second half.
He is maybe not a creative player but everything he does is intelligent. I like his intelligence and all these qualities together makes me choose him.
Predicted lineup & Match Preview to follow…