Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest Arsenal team news ahead of the final game of the 2012/13 Premier League season against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
There are only a few small changes from the squad the won 4-1 against Wigan on Tuesday. Mikel Arteta is a major doubt with a calf strain and could be replaced by Jack Wilshere, while Olivier Giroud is back from suspension.
Depending on results, this actually might not be our last game of the season. If we win 2-1 and Chelsea draw 0-0 with Everton then we will be level on goal difference and goals scored. Arsenal and Chelsea would therefore enter into a play-off for 3rd place and automatic Champions League promotion. The team in 4th has to go through the last round of CL qualifiers. Head-to-head results between us this season apparently don’t count, which is lucky for us because Chelsea won at both the Emirates and Stamford Bridge. The game would be played on a neutral ground, probably some time within the next 2 weeks.
“For the weekend, we have the uncertainty over Mikel Arteta, who had to come off just before the end of the Wigan game with a calf strain. Honestly, his chances of being available are minimal. I have to be realistic and prepare for another solution. Everybody else should be alright. There are no other real uncertainties.”
Earlier in the week it was revealed the Jack Wilshere will undergo minor surgery after the end of the season, but Wenger still says that he is an option to fill in for Arteta against Newcastle:
“He is an option yes. We will monitor him until Sunday and I will make a decision very late over what I will do.”
The “Handsome French Bloke” has completed his 3-match ban following a red the last few minutes of our 1-0 win against Fulham.
“I am happy to have him back. He missed some games and will be full of enthusiasm”
The match is live on Sky Sports 1, with Spurs vs Sunderland on Sky Sports 2. This is because the fight for the Champions League is the only thing that has come down to the final day of the season. Manchester United won the league weeks ago and Wigan, Reading and QPR have all been relegated to the Championship.
Unusually, Arsenal have an almost completely clean bill of health at the moment. Abou Diaby is a long-term injury, but otherwise everybody else is available for the final two games of the season. With Adebayor striking late for Spurs yesterday, we now have to win both remaining games to absolutely guarantee a place in next season’s Champions League.
“The news is quite good, we have everyone available. Kieran Gibbs should be back, he has a test today. Fabianski is available as well.”
In a slightly bizarre turn of fate, we can actually relegate Wigan only 3 days after they won the FA Cup against Manchester City. The Lactics need maximum points from their last 2 games, but they will definitely fancy themselves against Aston Villa on the final day of the season. The big worry is that they will be high on confidence tomorrow night following the FA Cup win.
Apologies for the lack of content over the last 2 weeks. I was in the process of starting a new job in Spain for 4 months and still do not have internet in my apartment. Hopefully I can get back to blogging on a regular basis very soon.
Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson have revealed the latest team news ahead of the big game on Sunday afternoon.
Despite being crowned league champions earlier this week, the game still holds at least some importance for Manchester United because they currently on track to break the records for most points and most wins in a Premier League season. The importance from an Arsenal point of view does not need stressed.
Unusually for this point in the season, we have an almost completely clean bill of health. Abou Diaby and Ryo Miyaichi are both nursing long-term injuries, while Arsene Wenger Lukasz Fabianski is still out with a rib injury picked up against Norwich two weeks ago, but we are otherwise in pretty good nick. Olivier Giroud starts his a 3-match ban after an unsuccessful appeal, but the rest of the players who featured at Craven Cottage are available.
“The players who played last week at Fulham should all be available. We lose Giroud of course because he’s suspended but that’s it.
“Fabianski is not available. It’s still week-to-week for him.”
The big question is who is going to replace Giroud as our central striker. The choice is Walcott, Podolski or Gervinho. My preference would be Podolski, but I have a feeling that Wenger will choose Gervinho given that he started the season playing in the centre. Walcott has not been in great form in recent weeks and could even be dropped.
Fergie has confirmed that he is likely to make a few changes from the team that played against Villa on Monday night, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both back in the squad and Jonny Evans and Michael Carrick nursing injuries. He also wants to reward United’s “fringe” players with some game time in the closing stages of the season.
“Two of the players played with an injury throughout the [Villa] game, Jonny Evans and Michael Carrick. Next week, I should have Vida and Rio back and I can put Jones into the middle of the pitch and play Vida and Rio together and we’ll get the experience going to Arsenal.
“A lot of younger players have been on the fringes for the last few weeks, and I desperately want them to feel their contribution has been big. Chicharito, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Nani – I think it’s important to get them involved in the last few weeks.”
Despite the mention of Javi Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, I can’t see RvP being left out of the United starting XI and missing the opportunity to play against us at the Emirates. It will be interesting to see how the home crowd reacts to his presence. A full match preview with predicted starting XI’s to be published later.
Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest Arsenal team news ahead of Saturday’s crucial Premier League game against Fulham.
If we win at Craven Cottage then we really keep our hopes of top-four alive with just a few league games remaining. Spurs play Manchester City on Sunday and Chelsea face Liverpool at Anfield, so here’s hoping that they will drop both a few more points.
With Lukasz Fabianski still sidelined, Wojciech Sczcesny will keep his place in the starting XI for the time being. However, it is difficult to say whether he will stay there once Fabianski is fit.
Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky all face late fitness tests, so it will be interesting to see who starts in midfield. As Wenger puts it “there are a number of uncertainties about our squad.” Wilshere has been particularly poor in the last few games, so I really hoping that Rosicky get to start for the first time since his 2 goals against Norwich. I think that Jack is just somewhat lacking in match fitness following 6 weeks or so on the sidelines, and I wonder whether playing him in too many games at the moment would be detrimental to his recovery and development. The good news is that Rosicky and Ramsey have hit form at exactly the right time.
“Fabianski is not back. The keeper situation is similar to what it was before. It is a rib injury. It is game to game for him.
“At the back everyone should available. In midfield we have a few people to check like Cazorla, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain. They will all have tests but I hope they should be alright.
“We have to test Rosicky who was not ready to start on Tuesday. There are a number of uncertainties about our squad but I will sort that out on Friday morning.”
The bad news is that it is looking increasingly likely that Manchester United will be able to win the league at the Emirates if they beat us next weekend. It all depends on the result of the Spurs/City game and also United/Villa on Monday. I can’t think of anything worse than RvP lifting the Premier League trophy with United at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger has given the latest Arsenal team news ahead of our vital home game against Everton this evening.
Tomas Rosicky and Per Mertesacker are back in the squad, but Lukasz Fabianski is a major douby with a bruised rib. This should see the return of Wojciech Sczcesny, who has missed the last few games after appearing to be frozen out of the squad in recent weeks.
“Mertesacker and Rosicky are back in the squad for tomorrow.
“Fabianski is a major doubt but we will decide that tomorrow [Tuesday]. He got a kick in the rib [against Norwich City].”
Wenger spoke not only of news about changes to the squad following Saturday’s 3-1 win over Norwich, but also revealed that he has been working with Lukas Podolski as a central striker in training. Olivier Giroud was very average against Norwich until the final 15 minutes, so it will be interesting to see if he keeps his place in the starting line-up.
“I think he can play as a central striker as well.
“I work a lot with him as a central striker at the moment. He is a quality player and when he comes on you can see that straight away. You don’t get 100 caps by luck.”
Another decision for Wenger to make is whether to keep Jack Wilshere in the team despite a poor performance against Norwich or bring to Rosicky straight back into the team. You also wonder which of Vermaelen or Koscielny is most likely to make way for Mertesacker. All will be revealed when the starting XI is revealed an hour before kick-off.
There are a few changes from the squad that won at the Hawthornes last weekend. Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott both look likely to return, but MOTM Tomas Rosicky has picked up a small hamstring injury and Per Mertesacker is suspended.
“Jack has joined normal training since Wednesday and Theo should join in tomorrow. They are 90 per cent available for Saturday.
“The other uncertainty we have from last Saturday is Tomas Rosicky, who has a little hamstring irritation. His involvement is yet to be decided as well but it’s fair to say that he is a big doubt for Saturday. And of course, Per Mertesacker will be out because of his red card.”
I expect that Wilshere will slot straight back into the team, with Aaron Ramsey pushed out wide onto the left wing. Lukasz Podolski is not playing as much at the moment because he has a small ankle problem that requires surgery at the end of the season. He is apparently ok to train and play 15/20 minutes, but not to start. Theo Walcott might not start if Wenger wants to continue with Gervinho, who has been in great form in recent weeks, on the right-hand-side. Vermaelen will replace Mertesacker at centre-back, but with Djourou out on loan you wonder who will be on the bench. Ignasi Miquel has yet to make a Premier League appearance this season and Squillaci is Squillaci.
Antony Pilkinton (hamstring) could be back for Norwich after returning to training this week, while Chris Hughton is hopeful that Mark Bunn (groin) will pass a late fitness test. John Ruddy is still out with a thigh injury and Adam Surman (knee) is a long-term injury.
Only a day after Steve Bould gave us news some good news about injuries to Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, The Metro are reporting that the date for Wilshere’s return to first-team training has been pushed back due to yet another injury setback.
Apparently, Arsenal are refusing to admit that Wilshere may not be back until the end of the month and are “growing concerned that he is not responding to treatment as quickly as possible.” The report also says that we are considering not playing Wilshere again this season in order to avoid him suffering from further complications in the future. He will not be rushed back under any circumstances.
However, The Mirror and The Daily Mail are both reporting that Wilshere took part in Friday’s first-team training and will be available to play against Norwich next week. There is even a very slim chance that he will even make the substitutes bench to play West Brom this afternoon.
So… Which is it? While I am more inclined to believe the latter, I do not think that Wenger will involve Jack in the squad this afternoon. It is not worth the risk. Aaron Ramsey has really stepped up and works well with Arteta; the midfield has not been too much of a problem in the last few games. The same could be said for not having Theo in the line-up – it gives us a chance to see what Gervinho can really do. Everything was great about Gervinho’s game last week, except for his finishing… Hopefully he has done some shooting training this week and will actually know what to do when he gets in front of the goal.
It is an important weekend for Arsenal. A win puts us above Chelsea, who play Sunderland tomorrow, while Spurs have a big game against Everton without Bale, Lennon, Defoe or Gallas. We must ensure that we take maximum points at the Hawthornes and really put the pressure on the other teams challenging for Champions League football.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after our vital 4-1 win over Reading, Arsene Wenger revealed some of the latest Arsenal injury news.
Jack Wilshere is a doubt for next week against West Brom, but Theo Walcott could be back. Nacho Monreal has picked up a small hip injury and Abou Diaby is a long-term absentee with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“I don’t think Jack will return next week at West Brom, maybe the week after. Theo has a chance to be fit again next week.”
Despite missing Wilshere and Walcott, the team played cohesive football against Reading that was arguably some the strongest that we have seen all season. Aaron Ramsey continued to cover well for Wilshere in midfield and Gervinho grabbed a goal and 2 assists, which is not too shabby for a player who seems to drive everybody mad!
“It’s not bad, two or three days. He hit the post. It’s bruised on the hip I think.”
The only Arsenal player to pick up an injury during the game was our left-back, who smacked into the post when he was trying to prevent Reading’s goal. Monreal was substituted for Kieran Gibbs, which is a fine example of the strength in depth that Wenger is trying to build within our squad. We had a particularly strong bench that included Szczesny, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski.
“That was the shock of the week for us because I thought originally it was just a little twist of the knee. When they told me it was a rupture of his cruciate, and when you know what this guys has gone through, how many times he has worked day and night to come back in rehab, it is just demoralising. I hope he will find the resources and the strength to come back, because he was quite down. When you look at the number of problems he had, the surgeries, he is 26 years old and has had four or five big surgeries. That demands a lot of mental strength to come back and I hope he will not give up and will continue.”
We will obviously know more later in the week, probably on Thursday when Wenger does his pre-West Brom press conference. With Arsenal out of all three cup competitions, it seems like there is a never-ending gap between fixtures, but there is still plenty of team news and transfer gossip to talk about.
Diaby is unlikely to play again in 2013, which is extremely frustrating because he was just starting to get himself back on track.
“The Club can confirm that Abou Diaby injured his left knee in training on Wednesday and subsequent scans have confirmed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament.
“Following consultations with specialists, Abou will undergo surgery to repair the injury in the near future. Abou is expected to be out for around eight to nine months.”
Twitter has gone slightly crazy, with lots of Arsenal fans offering very different opinions on the situation. A lot of fans are, quite rightfully, extremely angry at the amount of money that Arsenal have invested in Diaby over the past few years. He has averaged just 23 appearances a season since he joined Arsenal, amassing a ridiculous 30-something injuries (-barely any of which have been short-term). While he has shown signs of being a very talented midfielder, he has not exactly been able to live up to his potential thus far. However, he his only 26-years-old, so the big question is whether he will ever be able to shake the injury-prone trait that we currently associate with him and actually become a 30/40-game-a-season player.
I am a big Diaby fan, when he actually plays. He offers a lot more physicality than our other midfielders and I am sure would have developed into a great defensive mid by now if not for all the injuries. That said, he can sometimes be slightly anonymous. He is contracted for another 2 years and nobody else is going to want to buy such an injury-prone player, so I am sure that we will see him again at some point next season.
“Jack (ankle) is still out and Theo is still out because he has a little groin problem. For this weekend he will be short. He is progressing very well but will not be involved on Saturday. It is one week, basically the next game, for Theo. Jack will start to run again outside next week but it might make two weeks for him – on Monday next week he will have been out for four weeks.”
“We have a little problem with Diaby but I cannot tell you more. But he is out for the weekend.”
“Gibbs is sick and in bed. I don’t know if he’ll be involved or not. At the moment we don’t know. We haven’t seen him in the last three days.”
“He is back here. It is long-term for him.”
Lukasz Podolski & Bacary Sagna
“They are available.”
Losing Theo and Jack at this stage of the season is a big blow, but luckily they both should be back in time to play Manchester United and Everton. We have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (or Gervinho…) to cover for Walcott, and Rosicky or Ramsey in midfield for Wilshere. Rosicky has been out of favor in recent weeks, so I would imagine Aaron Ramsey will sit in alongside Mikel Arteta, with Cazorla just in front and Podolski/The Ox on the wings. That should be good enough to beat Reading and Norwich! Nacho Monreal will step in for Gibbs so no problems there.