It’s been a week in which nothing could possibly go wrong for Arsenal and an FA Cup date with Brighton surely does not look to spoil the party, unless it happens that the squad has taken its customary injury hit with three players likely to be unavailable for the trip.
Arsene Wenger in his press conference for the game revealed that two of those who started the weekend game at City, Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, would have to face fitness tests to ascertain their states going into the game on Sunday.
“We have some uncertainties about Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bellerin but they will have tests today and Bellerin should be available. Oxlade-Chamblerlain, I’m not sure.” Wenger said, according to Arsenal.com
“Oxlade-Chamberlain has an inflammation of his groin problems and Bellerin is an ankle problem.”
Neither player looked to have had any complaints in the City game, especially Bellerin who completed the entire duration of the game. The youngster was hailed as one of the most superb performers of the day, showing sufficient discipline and courage to contain the double threat of James Milner and Gael Clichy.
He was, somewhat surprisingly, Wenger’s choice to replace the injured Mattieu Debuchy instead of Calum Chambers who had recovered from an illness. It could be that Wenger decides to play the ex-Saints man for the Cup tie, assuming Bellerin will be given more time to see his ankle get full recovery in preparation for Aston Villa.
As for the Ox, he did not exactly have his best game at City though the force of his pace remains a menace. He has been one of the ever-presents for Wenger this season and it will be cause for disturbance to hear that his groin is giving him recurrent trouble. He was subbed late in the win over Newcastle last December in the first game where the groin issue was mainly noticed and maybe a rest here will also do him good.
While either of the above two may feature, Danny Welbeck continues to frolic in the treatment room and may not be ready for another two games according to Wenger. The England striker has not played since the last game of 2014 and may not play till February as his hamstring continues to snag him. Not that Giroud has been so awful to make Wenger want to rush his comeback.
And then… Abou Diaby. “He is still injured”, Wenger said, more a permanent description of his Arsenal career than an update of his present situation. Wenger did say the club would make a decision on his contract and it does not appear that decision will be anything but a resignation to let him go, especially if “He is still injured”.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.