Speaking to the press ahead of the game at Villa Park, manager Arsene Wenger revealed that the injury problems in the squad were still continuing, and several first team names would not be available for the game on Saturday. Even though it is still very early in the season, the injury problems coupled with a small squad mean that Arsenal are being forced to play their men out of position.
Among the injury doubts ahead of the game were Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy, Mathieu Flamini and Jack Wilshere. Over the course of the conference, Wenger had good news about some of them; while some other news was not so positive.
When asked about Nacho Monreal, who is out with a back injury:
He will miss the game on Saturday. It’s his back and it’s always difficult to predict [the length of absence with those injuries], we don’t really know. I don’t think it will be long-term.
Mathieu Debuchy confirmed that he would be out for several months with a ligament tear, and Wenger had this to add:
He has an exploration of his ankle on Friday night and they go in and look how the ligament is damaged, and after that we know if he does need surgery. If he doesn’t, it’ll be six weeks, if he does need surgery it’ll be three months. At the moment we don’t know.
Yaya Sanogo did not travel with the rest of the team to Dortmund, due to a niggling injury:
He has a small hamstring problem and is not in the squad.
Recovering players included Mathieu Flamini and Calum Chambers, both of whom are available for the weekend game:
We have [Calum] Chambers back because he had tonsillitis and wasn’t available. And everybody who started the game will be available again. Flamini’s back as well because he wasn’t on the team sheet. He’s back and available.
Jack Wilshere gave everyone a major scare midweek, when he went over on his ankle, the same one that had sidelined him for over a year. Luckily, Wenger has confirmed that it is not a serious injury.
He’s available too. I was wrong [after the Dortmund game], it was his left ankle and it was only a click that made him turn his ankle a bit, so he’s alright.
A team that is still struggling for fitness and cohesion, but hopefully Arsenal will be able to negotiate the tricky fixture against the Villains and come back with the points.