Ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa at the Emirates, here is the status report as to which players will be available and the situation of those still on the sidelines.
The bad news definitely is that Alexis Sanchez will not be in the squad for the game as he has picked up a hamstring strain. The Chilean was involved as a substitute in the win over Brighton last week but has finally gone down under some pain this season having stayed up all through the games unhurt since he arrived Arsenal. His 12 Premier League goals is one more than the total Aston Villa have managed as a team but it will be his bustle all around the pitch that will be missed more.
In midfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta and Wilshere are still out, according to Wenger and will not be in the Villa squad. However, the news on Wilshere is much more positive as he could be available before the FA Cup fifth round home tie against Middlesborough.
Speaking on the trio, Wenger said:
“They are not completely there yet but they are not far. Jack should joining normal training in 10 days. Welbeck on Monday. That’s where we are at the moment. Arteta is a bit longer”
On Welbeck, Wenger said, in his pre-match press duties for the Aston Villa game, that he is “very close” to being back in the team and should be “available for Tottenham game.”
Welbeck is yet to play any game this season since scoring and going off in the win at West Ham on the final day of 2014. He has nursed a hamstring strain for more than 4 weeks now but the manager expects that he will be up and running again after this weekend. Maybe he actually could have a chance of being on the bench but there cannot be any reason to want to rush him back. He has scored just 7 goals since that deadline day move last summer from United but you get the feeling that a reformed Danny will be spanking them when he makes it back into the squad.
Serge Gnabry has only just resumed full training and would need some minutes with the Under-21s before first team duties will be laid on his table.
As there was no injury from the Brighton game, beside Alexis now, Ozil and Walcott, Rosicky and Cazorla should provide enough for Wenger to assemble a team that should be capable of putting Villa to the sword.
There are no injuries in defence, Debuchy still the only man missing. Hector Bellerin and Calum Chambers will be up for that spot, unless Gabriel’s experience is favoured by Wenger as he can also play as a right back.
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