Arsene Wenger will take gained and pained team to the Etihad for Sunday’s crucial clash against City.
While there are still droplets of the glee that accompanied the return of Ramsey and Ozil to the team, one player has been lost to another long-term injury while another will have a prolonged spell added to a one-month stint already served.
It seemed a stroke of bad fortune for Debuchy that his latest injury means he would begin his three month lay-off by missing the trip to Manchester City as he had suffered his first freak fall against them in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. The 29-year old, according to Wenger’s press conference, has been left “destroyed” and “embarrassed” by his latest predicament although the manager puts no fault on him. He has been keen to show what a good replacement he would be for Sagna, but without him, Wenger can now call on Calum Chambers. The young England International was unwell for the game against Stoke but he is believed to have recovered enough to pip Hector Bellerin for the right back spot.
At left-back, it could be Nacho Monreal who is handed a start though Kieran Gibbs should be ready enough to make the bench. Gibbs has not played in the last two games with a pain in his heel but after training on Friday, he looks good to go.
Mattieu Flamini returned to the team from a hamstring injury but could not take back his place immediately from Francis Coquelin against Stoke. In Arteta’s absence, Flamini has been handed a major role to lead and control the holding role in Arsenal’s midfield but the return of his younger French compatriot has raised questions as to which of them should be chosen when the Gunners have no need of deploying a double pivot, and going by the forward balls that Coquelin can produce, the scale pointer has remained in his direction.
Arsenal’s defence may have been unsteady this season but the attack has not looked shaky, even with two strikers made to go out on loan this January and one other yet to return to the team. Welbeck’s last game was a strong performance at Upton Park where he scored but he has not recovered from some pain in his hamstring and will still need a fortnight to be ready.
“Danny Welbeck is not ready yet, he is still feeling some pain, so we will have to be patient. I think he has two more weeks (before he’s back).” Wenger said, as quoted on Arsenal.com
Jack Wilshere has continued to make good progress in his recovery from ankle surgery but he cannot be in the squad before the end of February. There are, however, no dates for neither Diaby nor Serge Gnabry
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