The Gunners are set to face Montpellier on Wednesday evening without the services of the inform Theo Walcott due to a shoulder injury sustained against Spurs at the weekend.
However there is some positive news as injured duo Gervinho and Gibbs have returned to the first team squad for the vital Champions League fixture.
It is a must win for Arsene Wenger’s side after collecting just one point from the two tough fixtures against group leaders Schalke, while Olympiacos collected all six against Montpellier meaning its anyone’s game.
Arsene Wenger revealed the following team news ahead of the fixture:
[on the latest team news] From Saturday, we have [almost] the same squad. But one player who will miss Wednesday’s game is Walcott. It’s the injury he got during the game with his shoulder. We have to scan that today and see if there is no damage. He will be out for tomorrow but it should be short-term. We will miss Santos as well, who has an abdominal muscle strain.
[on players coming back] The two players coming in the squad are Gervinho and Gibbs.
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[on having Gervinho back] He had quite a bad ankle strain. Kieran Gibbs as well was out for a while.
The return of the Englishman is a big boost especially with Vermaelen deployed as a left back at present with Santos becoming too much of a liability in recent weeks. Hopefully the return of Gibbs can further increase the effectiveness of Podolski who struggled without the 23-year-old behind him covering, making effective runs and most of communicating.
Gervinho too will be welcomed back into the fold with Walcott injured. The Ivorian has been missing for some time, and with the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger almost has a full strength first XI to choose.
However with the upcoming fixture list looking tough with three Premier League fixtures within the space of a week followed by the final match of the UCL group stage don’t be surprised if Wenger rotates a little with Wilshere and Sagna possibilities for some rest and maybe Cazorla.
Match & Betting Preview to follow…