Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest with the condition of the team in preparation for the Champions League home clash against Anderlecht on Tuesday.
Part of the glowing memories from Saturday’s victory over Burnley was that as much as it was difficult in the first half, it didn’t have to be pyrrhic to win it in the second half. If anything, it was a game of good news on the injury front, with Kieran Gibbs defying the post-Sunderland scare to his hip to turn in another superb 90 minute display. Yaya Sanogo also made a return to first team action, making the bench after some weeks out nursing a hamstring strain.
But as we know, an Arsenal Matchday preparation is never complete if at least one player isn’t going to make the game. Jack Wilshere will be unavailable for selection for Tuesday, after sitting out the weekend clash due to a kick. Wenger says the player is “sick” and will not make the game, perhaps suggesting that the knee has healed. Wilshere has missed back-to-back Arsenal games for the first time this season, playing last at the escape victory in Belgium. While the magnitude of his contributions could at times come under scrutiny, he is still very much a player the manager would rather have than be without.
In Aaron Ramsey, however, Wenger still possesses an equally able midfielder who might be in line to make another start since his return. The Welsh star is yet to rediscover his form of last season and the boss is pushing for him to get back to his best.
“He’s one of the players who was very efficient last season”, Wenger said during the pre-match conference. “He now needs to get back to that”
Wojciech Szczesny returns to Champions League duties after serving his suspension for the rash challenge on Burak Yilmaz against Galatasaray and will be keen on not giving too much belief to Emi Martinez that his position is up for grabs. The 24 year old has had some hard luck in the Champions League, especially in home games having been sent off in each of our last two matches at home, dating back to Bayern Munich last season. With first choice back up David Ospina still a few weeks into his 3 months recuperation period, the Pole will have to be on his guard not to make issues a bit more convoluted for his team than it is already.
With the likes of Mattiue Debuchy and Olivier Giroud making giant strides of convalescence, managing the squad will be a vital aspect of Wenger’s team selections for these games in the run up to the Christmas traffic of breathless fixtures. He may consider enforcing some of the players’ advice to Alexis’ towards taking a chill when recovery days are offered to avoid accumulated fatigue.
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