Arsenal FC could welcome Nicklas Bendtner back into the side for the match against Coventry, but Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky remain unavailable.
Arsene Wenger has had to deal with a lot of injuries and fitness concerns recently and at times it has stretched the squad a bit. But things are looking brighter on that front as a lot of first team players are close to returning to action as Arsenal prepare to face Coventry in the next round of the FA Cup tonight.
Nicklas Bendtner is back in the squad and Arsene Wenger insisted that he is available for selection once again. The striker’s last match was against Cardiff at the start of this month and Wenger might well decide to start with him in this game and provide Olivier Giroud some rest ahead of their important clash against Southampton in the league.
“He’s [Bendtner] been back in the squad since the start of the week and he’s available if selected.” – The Arsenal manager said.
But Arsenal will be still without their midfield duo Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta for this game, they will be available against Southampton though. Tomas Rosicky will be another absence from the side for this game. The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder suffered a blow to his nose in the match against Aston Villa in a challenge with Gabriel Agbonlahor, but although he did make it to the bench against Fulham with a protective mask, he is set to miss the FA Cup action tonight.
“Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey join the squad on Monday, they are not available for Friday’s game. We lost as well Rosicky, he’s not available.” – Wenger added.
The Frenchman is happy with the overall strength of the squad as he expects to have most of his injured players back into the squad by next week.
“We have just had Oxlade-Chamberlain back, Bendtner back, I hope to have Arteta back next week and Ramsey. We also have Yaya Sanogo coming back into the squad next week.” – He said.
Arsene Wenger also insisted that he is yet to decide on whether Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain will start this game. The 20-year-old has made to appearances from the bench since returning from his injury.
“I don’t know if he is completely ready or not, I will have to decide that tomorrow [Friday], he is very close.” – Wenger said.
But the Arsenal manager did reserve praise for the Englishman and the way he is developing at his age.
“He is in advance of where every player of his age is. He is in the national team, a regular player here and he has just been handicapped by a four-month injury but overall he is in a very strong position.” – Wenger explained.
He once again touched on the reasons why he believed that the winger will move a more central role in the future and how his game is suited to that role.
“Central, yes. It is not some way off. He can play central, it is just always [important] to find the right balance because around him you need always a more defensive player, but I like his qualities in the middle because he can penetrate and has good power to get out of pressure.
“That is a very important quality in the middle of the park now and he can pass people, can accelerate the game as well, has a good final ball as well and a good long pass.” – he added.