Along with the hustle and bustle of the Arsenal AGM, Arsene Wenger also participated in a press conference for the weekend’s game against Hull City. He was very complimentary about the opposition, and also provided updates on the injury status of the squad and player availability.
While speaking about Hull City, Wenger said that they had the potential to beat anybody and also that they had a strong side. The summer signings made by Hull City include Hatem Ben Arfa, Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame.
The Hull game for us is a remembrance of a big sweat because we played against them in the cup final in a very difficult game.
They could not use Jelavic in the cup last season, and since then they have bought Diame, Hernandez – they have bought some good players.
When you look at their team sheet now, they look like they can beat anybody so I expect a tough game. Look at the quality of players they got in, you can say they bought top quality.
Also, Wenger took the time to talk about the injury status of the squad. It was, on the whole, a positive report and he said that several players are close to full fitness.
We have been hit a bit hard with Koscielny coming back and his achilles being worse, and of course discovering the Ozil injury which we thought was nothing because he finished the Chelsea game. He is out for a while now. For the rest, the positive news is Walcott is back in full training, Serge Gnabry is back in full training, We have as well Giroud ahead of schedule, so we have some positive news.
He [Walcott] will play on Friday night in the under-21s. He has been out for nine months and needs to find some rhythm in the game and some confidence to go into the contact. Gnabry is like Walcott, he has been a bit more in and out, he had no big surgery. But he is not completely ready today, he is even a bit behind Walcott. I don’t think either of them will be involved [against Hull].
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Arteta is back in the group, and will be in the squad.
Saturday’s game is too soon for Aaron. He will be back in full training on Monday and certainly in the squad for Wednesday [against Anderlecht].
Koscielny will not be available. He has an Achilles problem, which has got worse. He finds it difficult to play with it at the moment. You can only trust what the players says, he does not feel ready to play and will not play on Saturday. No [he will not need surgery].
Rosicky came back with a kick on the calf. He’s supposed to practice today. He didn’t play the second international game because of that but he should be available for Saturday.
Good news on the whole for the Gunners, with Walcott, Gnabry, Rosicky and Arteta all fully fit and Ramsey set to return soon. Giroud’s accelerated recovery is also a good sign, and Koscielny too should be available by next week. A win against Hull City on Friday should do wonders for the team confidence, and that is what Wenger will surely be focusing on.