Jack Wilshere & Bacary Sagna
Jack Wilshere & Bacary Sagna both played the full 90 minutes in a training-ground match against Chelsea yesterday afternoon, while many of the senior players were away on international duty. Despite a few appearances for Arsenal U21s, this was the first time that either player has completed the full 90 minutes since returning from their long-term injuries, which is pretty good news. They could be in contention for first-team matches within the next few weeks.
Arsenal actually fielded quite a strong team that included Andre Santos, Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh. Carl Jenkinson came on a half time and Sebastian Squillaci also featured, although I had actually forgotten that he was still at the club. The Chelsea team was a bunch of players I have never heard of + John Terry, who has nothing better to do than to play in a team of randoms from Chelsea’s youth academy now that he has retired from international football.
“For the record, Chelsea won the game courtesy of well-taken goals from Billy Clifford and Islam Feruz. But the only number that matters from an Arsenal perspective is the 180 minutes that Wilshere and Sagna shared.”
Wojciech Szczesny & Lukas Fabianski
Many British newspapers are reporting that Wojciech Szczesny has had a further setback in his rehabilitation and will be out for another three weeks. As rubbish as these newspapers may sometimes be (I am thinking in particular of the Daily Mail), this does sound exactly like the sort of thing that we have now come to expect from Arsenal players. Szczesny has been wearing a protective boot that was supposed to help with his recovery, but clearly it can’t be working that well.
What I don’t think has been made clear from Arsène Wenger’s more recent press conferences is that Szczesny still has a while to go even after he returns to first-team training. Once he has recovered from his injury (which has been 2/3 weeks away for the last two months), it will be several more weeks until he is actually fit to start in the Premier League.
Our other goalkeeping news is that Lukas Fabianski has ruptured ligaments in his ankle and will now be out for another 3 months. This is yet to be confirmed on Arsenal.com, but I am sure that we will have a full update when Wenger does his pre-match press conference ahead of Norwich on Saturday afternoon. Fabianski has not played for Arsenal since February, as he has been struggling with several shoulder injuries. He was looking close to a comeback, but suffered this latest injury in training on Tuesday. Vito Mannone’s place in the team looks to be pretty safe for the time being.