For the first time this season, and probably in a long, long time, every single Arsenal player is in full training and up for selection this weekend, as reported by Arsenal.com.
Arsene Wenger spoke about the fitness of a number of players during his press conference, with the main focus being on Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
We may see Cazorla play a similar role as Jack Wilshere did last time out, with the 24-year-old getting a brief cameo at the end of the game. With Wenger likely to want to give Wilshere more minutes too though, Cazorla may have to wait for his time.
The Ox seems far less likely to feature, as Wenger wasn’t particularly positive about his chances of being included in the squad.
“Everyone is training, so that’s new for us. That’s the first time this season,” Wenger said.
“It’s Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first week in full training now, so I don’t think I will select him this weekend.
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“Santi might be in the squad this weekend, I don’t know yet. He is available. Everyone is available, but maybe Oxlade-Chamberlain is not competitive yet.”
While it’s great that everyone is close to being back to full fitness, this situation is so vintage Arsenal. We’ve spent the entire campaign without many of our key stars, and while it’s not as much of an excuse this time around, the plethora of injuries we’ve had to deal with have certainly impacted our ability to challenge for the title.
But now right before the end of the season when there’s nothing to play for, everyone is on the verge of returning to action, just in time for Arsene Wenger to use them as a reason not to sign anyone this summer.
On the one hand you can’t really blame him for that, as if Jack Wilshere is staying at the club you can’t expect Wenger to sign a pricey replacement over the summer. After years and years of suffering exactly the same problems though, something really has to change.
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Hopefully this summer and next season are different to the many we’ve had to endure recently, and not only does Wenger splash the cash on a few world class players, but the injury prone players we already have at our disposal manage to shake their issues and get a decent number of games under their belt.