Speaking at the press conference after Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Dinamo Zagreb yesterday, manager Arsene Wenger provided a detailed injury update on the squad (via Arsenal.com). The Gunners currently have several key players sidelined due to injury and are quickly running out of squad members to fill in the gaps. The manager’s report will hardly help in easing the fears of the fans however, since Wenger confirmed the worst – especially regarding defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin.
Coquelin went down injured early on during the weekend’s game against West Brom with what was identified as a knee injury. The manager went into further detail yesterday, admitting that the player had sustained ligament damage that would see him sidelined for around 12 weeks, although he does not seem to require surgery. Wenger went on to reveal that players like Hector Bellerin and Olivier Giroud were not quite at their best either, saying “Giroud had a little problem with his ankle over the weekend but I decided to give [him] a breather.
“[Regarding his decision to not substitute Alexis Sanchez] Hector Bellerin, I took him off because he had a groin problem just before so I had to take them off meaning I could not take Alexis off. We now have five days to recover. I tried to compromise a little bit and give a break to Giroud and not take a risk with Bellerin.
“[About Coquelin] It is what we feared basically. Let’s be realistic, it will be 12 weeks. He does not need surgery. It was a knee ligament so it will be 12 weeks.”
When asked to provide details on the return dates of injured players, Wenger revealed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the closest to full fitness, although it would take him a few more days yet. Theo Walcott remains a couple of weeks away.
“For Olympiacos, apart from tonight, Oxalde-Chamberlain will certainly be back while Theo Walcott has a chance.” he said.
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Meanwhile, injured Englishman Jack Wilshere appeared in an interview with Fox Soccer, where he stated that his return might be delayed once again and that he would not return until he was fully confident in doing so (via ESPN). The midfielder has not featured at all this season for the Gunners, having picked up an injury while training for the Community Shield game against Chelsea back in August.
Since then, he has suffered several setbacks which seem to have made him very cautious. He said, “I hope so [that I can return soon] but I’ve said before in a previous interview that I’ve been in this position before where I’m feeling good, I’m back on the pitch, I’m doing a bit of running and all of a sudden something goes wrong so I don’t want to say I’ll be in a month or I’ll be back at Christmas.
“I’ll be back when I’m back when I feel ready but at the minute it’s going good.”
In addition to these players, Arsenal’s injury list also includes Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky for the long-term and Mikel Arteta for the short term (via Arsenal.com). Hopefully, we regain the services of as many players as possible before heading into the jam-packed holiday season.