Arsene Wenger has provided encouraging updates for Kieran Gibbs and Per Mertesacker after their niggles in midweek caused plenty of worry among Arsenal fans.
Both were deemed to be carrying minor knocks and were unused substitutes against Southampton in the Gunners 2-1 Carling Cup loss. However the defenders are deemed fit for Saturday’s massive clash with Tottenham Hotspur and will certainly take their places in the starting XI with a lack of defensive options on offer.
Elsewhere, Mathieu Flamini returns to the side after missing the past couple of games and thankfully there are no new injury worries after the midweek loss. Most notably a certain Abou Diaby managed 65 minutes of football unscathed.
Wenger revealed the latest team news ahead of this weekend’s NLD in his pre-match press conference:
Flamini is back in the squad and the long-term injuries are not back.
Everyone else is similar to where they were. Monreal is not back yet. The likes of Giroud, Debuchy and Walcott are unavailable.
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Kieran Gibbs is alright.
[on Per Mertesacker] He’s available, he’s in normal training today and I don’t think there will be a problem.
It seems unlikely Flamini will slot into the lineup straight away, Mikel Arteta is fit and rested in midweek so will almost certainly start alongside Aaron Ramsey. Abou Diaby is now pushing for the deeper role in the Gunners midfield, but it’s unlikely he is in line for a start due to his lack of match practice.
The Gunners have plenty of options in midfield but simply cannot afford ANY further setbacks in defence. Luckily Issac Hayden and Hector Bellerin acquitted themselves quite well in the Cup match on Wednesday. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that though..
Very good news to have Gibbs and the Sack available for selection. COYG!