With Arsenal travelling to Swansea, Arsene Wenger revealed the latest team news in his pre-match press conference.
Jack Wilshere is returns to the squad after missing the last 2 with illness while Theo Walcott continues his comeback after playing his first 10 minutes of first team football since January. However, captain Mikel Arteta has been ruled out with an injury, in what will be worrying times for the fans and the manager.
Regarding Theo Walcott, Wenger said, “Walcott is in the squad [against Swansea]. He can start if I decide to start him. He needs playing time. Roy Hodgson is free to do what he wants.”
Walcott’s return to the team will likely see Joel Campbell being left out of the squad again, and with reports emerging that he has not been a happy camper in the training, the inevitable question was asked to the manager.
Wenger responded by saying, “I have a lot of respect for him and I hope he is happy every day he is here.”
Arsene Wenger also called upon Aaron Ramsey to concentrate on midfield duties instead of simply bombing forward to score a goal. When he was asked how Ramsey can recapture his form of last season, the manager said, “Just keep his priorities right. A midfielder is a guy who defends well and helps the other players in the team play well. He has to focus on that.
“I think you have to be guided not by what people say but by the way you want to play and to play the right way.
“When you score a goal and have a disastrous game people say you have been great, but you have to keep your priorities right: defend well and attack well, and give balls to other players.
“In the heart of the game that’s what it’s about. It’s not about goalscoring. Goalscoring is a consequence of playing well, so first play well.”
Arsene also revealed that Laurent Koscielny would be out for a further month. “He has not started running outside so you cannot think he will be available in two weeks’ time,” Wenger said. “Then, you have to see how he responds to going outside and running. He is not there yet anyway. He cannot run. He will not be available for three or four weeks.” He said that rest was the only option. “It’s just inflammation. Too much French salami. He won’t need surgery. His achilles on the scans are quite good. He could not go on, so we had no choice.”
The likely starting XI for Arsenal: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Sanchez, Ramsey, Cazorla, Welbeck.