Arsenal are set to welcome back Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky to the fold after both were declared fit by Arsene Wenger ahead of their FA Cup tie with Burnley (via Arsenal’s official website).
The Gunners have been missing several key members of their midfield since November that has contributed to their inconsistency of late, and one player in particular has been a huge miss – Coquelin. The Frenchman’s return to fitness is a massive boost as Wenger’s men look to retain their FA Cup trophy for a third consecutive season as they face their fourth-round clash at Emirates.
Czech international Rosicky is a welcomed reinforcement considering he’s not played a single minute for Arsenal this season, with Per Mertesacker the notable absentee due to his straight red card suspension.
“Mertesacker is out because of the red card, and everybody else is available, apart from Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla,” Wenger told reporters (via Arsenal.com). “After that it is just a question of selection and decision-making, that is the key.”
“Francis is available to play now because he has passed two weeks of full training. Tomas is also available for selection.”
Wenger also confirmed both Wilshere and Cazorla are only a number of weeks away from returning, while Danny Welbeck – who has been sidelined since April last year – is also ‘not far away’.
“Jack and Santi are progressing well but they are at least a few weeks away. But these two apart, it is just about competitiveness and match fitness,” Wenger said. “Danny Welbeck is not completely ready but he is not far. He needs a game or two because he’s been out since last April. The Stoke [under-21] game is too soon because he only had one session with the team, and that is too short.”
The wealth of midfield options soon to be available for the Gunners is a massive asset to have for the title run-in considering we are still fighting on three fronts. The quality options can provide Wenger the opportunity to make little tweaks and keep everyone fit once the matches come thick and fast again.
Coquelin availability is the most exciting piece of the team news – he has become one of our most important players and hopefully he can quickly get back up to speed and reach his previous level.