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Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest Arsenal team news ahead of Sunday’s big game against Manchester City. The biggest injury concern is Olivier Giroud, who took a big bash to the knee in the FA Cup 3rd round draw at Swansea and is said to be “50:50″. Abou Diaby and Andre Santos returned to action in midweek in an U21 fixture against West Brom, but it is unlikely that they will be fit enough to make the team on Sunday. Lukasz Fabianski is nearing a return after a long and drawn out period on the sidelines.
“Everyone is fit from last weekend apart fromOlivier Giroud. He has not been practising because of the cut on the knee he got at Swansea. We’ll have a final test on Saturday to see if he is involved against Man City. It is a 50:50. We’ll see.”
Andre Santos & Abou Diaby
“I want to see how they react to the under-21 game they played in midweek. But we have so many games coming up now, it is good they are back.”
Speaking about Diaby’s return in the U21 fixture, reserve manager Terry Burton said:
“I thought he did well. He was arguably the pick of the senior players that came in. I thought him and Jenkinson both applied themselves really well. Diaby came into the game and started to develop his all-round game. He got on the ball and controlled the game. He can slow the tempo down or speed it up. I thought he was very good. Hopefully he’s come through the game well.”
“He is not far away [from full training] now, two or three weeks.”
Losing Giroud for the City game will be a big blow. He may also be missing for the FA Cup replay on Wednesday. Of course, he may pass a late fitness test in which case there is no worry. With Chamakh gone we have only two natural striking options – Walcott and Podolski. Bearing in mind how much Walcott has played through the middle in recent weeks I would expect him to start in the middle. However, we are yet to see what Podolski is really capable of if we play him in that position. It could be interesting.