Ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash at home to Burnely, Arsene Wenger has given us the latest on the injury front, with major focus being on Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere.
Gibbs came off during the last 20 minutes of the Sunderland game last Saturday with what was believed to be a pelvic strain. The 25 year old has been one of the most solid performers in the Arsenal squad this season, especially in the defence which has constantly flunctuated due to injuries to certain key players. Gibbs is set to have a late test to reveal if he’ll be available for selection though Wenger stated that he was quite confident that he would make it. The manager would be desperate to have Gibbs pass the test as his absence will further deepen the crisis of personnel deficiency threatening to cripple our campaign. We’ll be left with just three senior defenders in Mertesacker, Monreal and Calum Chambers. With Champions League action coming in midweek, Wenger wouldn’t want to have to reset his defence again, which will probably see Monreal shift to left back and Hector Bellerin coming at right back for Chambers to partner Mertesacker in the middle.
Jack Wilshere was supposed to return from the suspension which had kept him out of the Sunderland game but a kick on his knee in training will rule him out against the Clarets tomorrow. With Santi Cazorla misfiring, Wilshere was surely going to partner Ramsey in central midfield, with Alexis and Chamberlain providing width. Wilshere had been talking tough of his pride being the reason behind his fight to overcome the niggling injuries which has stalled his progress over the years, even setting his sights at getting on the score sheet more frequently to emulate the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. He sounded like he had something of a point to prove, perhaps feeling like Burnley would provide him a good chance to do that.
Wenger may look to play a double pivot in Wilshere’s absence in a repeat of the set up against Sunderland, with Ramsey playing in a more advanced role. Another viable option would be to play Tomas Rosciky. The veteran gooner is without a League start this season and though we all agree he plays his best in the second half (especially against the spurs), this should be the kind of games where he gets a run out.
From the attacking department, it is good news that Yaya Sanogo is back to provide some competition for Danny Welbeck in the center forward role. Sanogo is undoubtedly Wenger’s protégé and he tends to fully develop him into the kind of striker he believes he can be. Wenger appears to be still hesitant with regards to throwing Theo Walcott into the heat of the action. The fast forward has made good recovery from his ten-month absence but the manager believes he is not ready enough to be handed a start just yet. Perhaps, like against Cardiff last year, he could mark his return with a substitute appearance – and an assist?
Serge Gnabry and Abou diaby are amongst others working their ways back to full fitness from long term absences and have been declared as still being a few weeks away.
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