Arsenal are set to be without Francis Coquelin for Wednesday’s Capital One Cup clash with rivals Tottenham Hotspur according to Arsenal.com, with Arsene Wenger revealing the combative midfielder is suffering from a swollen knee.
The Frenchman was withdrawn at half-time on Saturday, replaced by Calum Chambers who slotted in alongside Laurent Koscielny after Gabriel received his marching orders just before the break. It was initially feared the defensive midfielder could be missing up to a month of action, however Wenger holds hope it is just a short-term setback.
“Francis Coquelin will be out and we have no major problems for anybody else. It should be a similar squad,” the Gunners boss said to Arsenal.com. “His knee is swollen and he is being assessed but we hope it is just a short-term problem.”
It appears are no other fresh injury troubles from the 2-0 loss to Chelsea over the weekend, with Per Mertesacker returning to the fold after his recent sickness while Gabriel’s overturned red card means he is also back in contention.
“He [Per Mertesacker] is available for selection, yes,” Wenger added.
The Frenchman also suggested he will field a strong XI to face Tottenham despite his usual youth policy for the Capital One Cup. A win is imperative after their back to back losses to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League before the shambles at Stamford Bridge.
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Wenger suggested many of the youth players still around the first team squad are not quite up to the task of an intense game at White Hart Lane, with a selection of Arsenal’s more experienced starlets currently out on loan.
“It will affect it because at the moment the youth-team players, many of whom are ready to play for us, are away on loan,” he told Arsenal Player.
“The next players who have the talent are not completely ready to play at that level. With the difficulty of the opponent as well, you do not want to throw them into a game where they look out of place.
“There are no fringe players [here], there is only a first-team squad. It is an opportunity for Arsenal to win an important game and for the players who play for the club to defend our club and qualify.
“Apart from that, we played with the team in Zagreb and we didn’t win, so we want to come back now and win our cup games because that’s vital for us.”
Arsenal cannot afford another disappointing result and require a confidence boost after what has been a difficult week. Losing Coquelin for the tie is not ideal but we have plenty of solutions within the squad. We will likely see majority of the side selected at Chelsea retain their positions with the likes of Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain potentially coming into the side.