Arsenal vs Chelsea – Team/Injury News: Arteta, Benayoun, Koscielny, Diaby, Coquelin

Arsène Wenger has given a full team update including injury news in his pre-match press conference for tomorrow’s early kick-off against Chelsea.

The good news is that Laurent Koscielny and Abou Diaby are back in the squad. The bad news is that Mikel Arteta has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a sprained ankle and Yossi Benayoun is ineligible to play as part of our loan agreement with Chelsea.

Mikel Arteta

“It is season over for him but he doesn’t need surgery, which is what we were scared of. So he will be out for six to eight weeks. It is an ankle problem but just a sprain.”

Yossi Benayoun/ Laurent Koscielny

“He is ineligible. But Koscielny is back from his two-match suspension.”

Abou Diaby

“He is back in the squad. He played one half on Wednesday [in a friendly] and he will be alright now I think. We still have to be a bit cautious with him because we had so many setbacks. If all goes well he will be in the squad.”

Francis Coquelin

“He is back in full training but he has not played a game at all. He has been out for two months, his last game was at Sunderland so it is a bit early for him.”

Other injury news

“We have no other worries.”

My verdict

No Arteta is a big problem. He has been the constant in the side this season, having started almost every Premier League game since he joined from Everton at the end of August. Mikel’s his presence has a huge influence on the players around him, especially Tomas Rosicky and Alex Song. The fact that Arteta plays slightly deeper than Fabregas did gives Song a bit more creative freedom and allows Rosicky to take up a more advanced CAM role. It will be interesting to see how the team lines up tomorrow with either Ramsey or Diaby.

If anybody feels like a trip down memory lane, I have published an article with embedded videos of my top 5 Arsenal goals against Chelsea under Wenger, which can be viewed here. Full match preview with starting XI & score prediction to be published later. 

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