Arsene Wenger has confirmed that there will be late fitness tests for Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal ahead of the trip to Sunderland. The Boss also confirmed that Lucas Perez will miss 6-8 weeks but that Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud will return to the squad (via Arsenal.com).
Matchday: Team News – Predicted Lineup – Betting Preview
Match: Arsenal v Sunderland
Stadium: Stadium of Light
Kick-Off (GMT): Sat 29 Oct 12:30
Arsenal travel to Sunderland for the early kickoff tomorrow but they may have to do it without a host of first-team players. Arsene Wenger confirmed in his pre-match press conference that the Gunners could be without as many as four players for the fixture and will need late fitness tests to find out for sure.
The Boss also confirmed the news that Lucas Perez has picked up an injury. “Team news from Tuesday night we lost Perez for a while with an ankle injury, hopefully, he will recover but I think he will be 6-8 weeks out,” Wenger told the press.
“Of course as you have seen we have Giroud available, Aaron Ramsey will be in the squad tomorrow. Basically, in November they have not played which is good.
“A few concerns about players, Cazorla, Monreal, Walcott, they have tests today.”
That last line is worrying. The trio has been vitally important to the team this season but Wenger confirmed that Cazorla is still suffering from the Achilles injury, that Monreal has a muscular problem, and that Walcott has a slight thigh strain.
A lot was made of the absence of Santi Cazorla last weekend in the draw against Middlesbrough and while Arsene Wenger played it down slightly, he did seem to realise Cazorla’s importance to the team.
“Against Middlesbrough people say Santi did not play, yes of course but I think we had enough domination and enough quality to win the game on the pitch,” Wenger said, “that’s when we have to find a solution when Santi is not there and that no matter how big Santi is – and god knows that I rate him highly – we have as well drawn and lost games with him as well.
“[He provides] the pass from midfield to high midfield and security on the ball getting out of pressure when we are closed down, he gets you out of tight situations and creates openings for the team, he has as well a good understanding with Mesut Özil.”
Kieran Gibbs is a readymade replacement for Monreal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can fill in for Theo Walcott but Santi Cazorla would be a big miss from the team on the weekend. Granit Xhaka is still suspended so Wenger may have to bring Aaron Ramsey in. The Boss seemed reluctant to throw the midfielder straight back into the team but he may not have a choice given the situation.