Arsene Wenger claims we’ll be going all out to get the win over Sunderland this weekend, and suggested we’d see a fairly similar squad to the one that played against Newcastle in our last Premier League game (via Arsenal.com).
He stressed that we’ve got no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game, and is planning to name a strong squad that will give “absolutely everything” to progress in the FA Cup this Saturday.
“The team news is that, from last week, we have no big injuries, and the squad will be similar to the squad who played the last game against Newcastle,” he said.
“Will a young player or two start? I haven’t decided yet.
“The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify. We are the holders of the cup and I know as well by experience that it is very important that you get in the competition and that you have a successful third round. It’s a tricky one, always, the third round.”
The only bit of bad news is where Alexis Sanchez is concerned, with the manager confirming that the Chilean had suffered a set-back and is unfortunately still a little short of returning for the Sunderland game as he was expected to do.
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“The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready,” he continued.
“It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He’s not bad but he’s not ready.”
With our next Premier League game just a few days after the start of our FA Cup defence, Wenger may be looking to rotate a little – even if he’s still hoping to name a strong squad. His options are somewhat limited in certain areas of the pitch, but he can certainly afford to rotate in other departments.
Gabriel Paulista has shown his quality every time he’s been given a chance, and would be more than capable of replacing either of our regular centre-backs. And while Nacho Monreal has cemented his place as first choice left-back, but Kieran Gibbs certainly isn’t a huge step down.
As we reported previously here, we expect Hector Bellerin to miss the game following a trip to Amsterdam. This is far from a forgone conclusion, but we at All Arsenal believe – rather worryingly – that either Mathieu Debuchy or Calum Chambers will get the nod at right-back.
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There isn’t much scope for rotation elsewhere, unless Wenger opts to put his trust in youth players like Alex Iwobi or Jeff Reine-Adelaide. That’s probably for the best though, as we want to make sure we get the win over Sam Allardyce’s Black Cats.