Arsenal look set to face Hull City without the services of their ever reliant right back Bacary Sagna who has a “slight hamstring problem”, meaning Carl Jenkinson should slot in for the Frenchman.
Sagna has been excellent this campaign and will be sorely missed, however if the injury is nothing serious it could be a good opportunity for some rotation, something Wenger has admitted he will do frequently until the end of the festive season.
Jenkinson is the natural replacement, however Mathieu Flamini could always do a job and Nacho Monreal a possibility too. However Wenger has revealed he is ‘likely’ to field the young Englishman who has struggled for action so far this season.
Elsewhere, Lukas Podolski has given the squad an extra boost with the news that he resumes full training after Wednesday’s match and will take at least a week to gain sharpness and integrate back into the team.
Wenger revealed the following team news ahead of their midweek Premier League fixture at Emirates:
[on the team news for Hull City] From Saturday against Cardiff we will lose Sagna, who has a slight hamstring problem. He should be out for tomorrow’s game.
[on Sagna’s replacement] Jenkinson is likely to come back.
[on Lukas Podolski] Lukas Podolski should be back in normal training after the Hull game.
[on when he can feature] What he lacks is competition. You would say it will take at least a week with normal training to consider him fit for the squad.
With an incredibly hectic schedule on the horizon, Wenger knows he must handle his squad carefully and rotate as necessary.
A number of players have featured heavily this season and the Gunners boss will analyze accordingly, so we can expect to see some minor changes from week to week to keep the side fresh.
The Frenchman said:
I rotate considering the level of fatigue. We have some indications – my eyes, some objective data and as well some positions where it’s more demanding on the physical front than others.
We have so many games that in some positions I will have to change; the full-back position is one that is very demanding. Central defence is a little bit less demanding on the physical side, it’s more on the concentration side.
When you play so many games of that intensity, we expect to lose one or two players. In every single game I [will rotate]. I try to limit the number because I do not want to disrupt the balance of the team, so I do that in every single game.
Predicted lineup & preview to follow…