Prior to the Champions League fixture against Anderlecht, Arsene Wenger has given the latest injury updates on the squad. With several of Arsenal’s key players returning to training, it is a good sign for the Gunners, but whether they are fit enough to play remains to be seen.
Jack Wilshere is fully fit after taking a hard knock against Hull City, which had forced him to come off. Aaron Ramsey is also fully fit after featuring in the second half against Hull. Captain Mikel Arteta should also be available for selection, and attacking midfielder Tomas Rosicky has also recovered from the injury he picked up in the international break. These reinforcements will really help to add depth and variety to our midfield.
In defence, Calum Chambers is back after serving out a one game suspension. He will probably partner Mertesacker in central defence since Koscielny has still not fully recovered. Theo Walcott has also been training regularly and we may see the England forward on the bench for today’s game. German Lukas Podolski, who missed the last game through illness, is also fit again.
But Wenger revealed that our back up keeper David Ospina is out with a long term knee injury. The goalkeeper, who signed for Arsenal this summer, has struggled for fitness ever since and came on as a substitute against Galatasaray when Szczesny was shown the red card for a late challenge. But the appearance reignited his injury and has sidelined him for the next two to three months. As such, with Szczesny suspended, reserve keeper Emiliano Martinez will start for the Gunners.
Chambers is back in our squad after suspension. Coquelin is not in the squad. Szczesny is not here as he is suspended and will be replaced by Martinez.
[Ospina’s injury] is exactly the same one [as from the World Cup]. He had his first injury at Nice – it was a knee problem and he was a bit rushed back and did not use his leg, so his muscle became weaker. Then he got injured in the World Cup. After that, he came to us injured after the World Cup and it took him two months to play again. I had to bring him on against Galatasaray without a warm up and being prepared, so he had a recurrence of that injury. It means he is out for two to three months, now we have to be really careful because it is a recurrence of a thigh injury, which is very difficult. It is a long-term injury.
I cant remember the last time Arsenal had a fully fit squad available. Hopefully the keeper will not disappoint and the returning midfielders will lead us to a much needed victory tonight.