Arsene Wenger has given the latest Arsenal team news ahead of this afternoon’s Premier League home game against QPR.
There is some pretty good news this weekend. Bacary Sagna should be back in the Arsenal squad for the first time since he broke his ankle towards the end of last season. I don’t expect him to start (Jenko has been good cover and Bacary has not had any first-team game time so far), but he could definitely be in line for a short appearance from the bench.
Jack Wilshere is also going to be considered for a place on the bench (maybe even in the starting line-up?). I think that Wilshere is a few weeks ahead of Bacary in terms of fitness and may slot straight into the team if required. That said, Francis Coquelin played quite well against Schalke so I see no reason why he wouldn’t start alongside Arteta and Cazorla. There is also Aaron Ramsey.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also face a late fitness test, although I don’t expect him to be involved. As much as I would like to see The Ox on the wing instead of Gervinho or Ramsey, he almost definitely won’t start and probably won’t be fit enough to be on the bench. However, I do expect him to feature against Reading in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
Sagna, Wilshere & Gibbs
“There could be some players coming back, like Sagna. Wilshere I have to consider. We’ll make a decision [on Friday], if I put him in the squad or not. That’s basically it. Kieran Gibbs is still not ready. All the other players are still not ready.”
“He has a chance [of playing]. He is 60-40 for playing, positive. Of course it is a boost. It will be vital as [on Wednesday] some players finished very tired.”
Today’s game represents the perfect opportunity for Arsenal to get themselves back on track. QPR are right at the bottom of the table and if we don’t beat them then what chance do we stand at Old Trafford next weekend? Based on his appalling performance in the Champions League, I really don’t want to see Andrey Santos start at left back. However, Kieran Gibbs is still out and unfortunately I don’t see Wenger playing Ignasi Miquel ahead of Santos.
I also would like to see Serge Gnabry given his first start in the Premier League. Gnabry really impressed against Schalke and this is a great chance for him to show his worth while Walcott and AOC aren’t in the team. Playing Aaron Ramsey on the wing just doesn’t do it for me, and Gervinho is beginning to annoy me (as I am sure he is others!). However, Gervinho will almost definitely start. Expect Giroud to be back in the starting XI after he was left out in midweek.
This week I am not going to attempt to predict the score. It never goes particularly well & I would rather just keep my mouth shut!