Kim Kallstrom to make his first start for Arsenal FC in the league, while Ramsey and Monreal are likely to miss out against West Ham.
Arsenal FC host West Ham United at the Emirates tonight, in what is expected to be a feisty London derby. The Gunners have encountered poor form off late in the league, but will be buoyed by their recent win over Wigan Athletic in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
Everton have already toppled them in the race for the fourth spot and Arsenal need to get back to winning ways in the league to regain a place in the Champions League next season. But Arsene Wenger has to contain with a lot of fitness concerns ahead of this fixture. A lot of first team players are still struggling with injuries, while many would still feel the effect of having played for 120 minutes in the FA Cup semi-final win over Wigan Athletic. Abou Diaby, Ryo Miyaichi, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere continue their spell at the side-lines, while Mesut Ozil is still a week away from returning to first team action. The German international could be in contention to feature in the Premier League clash against Hull City next week.
Mathieu Flamini continues to serve his suspension and remains unavailable for selection in this game. Arsene Wenger has also confirmed that there are doubts over the fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey, who made his first start since returning from injury against Wigan and was made to play till extra-time, both of whom are facing muscle tightness. The duo are unlikely to play any part against West Ham, along with Nacho Monreal, who was replaced in the second half at Wembley with a dead leg.
“The main uncertainties are Monreal who had to come off with a dead leg. Podolski had a little [muscle] problem but I think he will be alright. Then there is Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey (both muscle tightness). They are the main problems.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny missed out the semi-final against Wigan, but the duo will undergo late fitness test to confirm their availability in this game – although Wenger is unlikely to take any risk with Koscielny in this game. Lukas Podolski has also faced muscle problems, although the Arsenal manager expects him to recover fitness ahead of this game, while Serge Gnabry remains out of contention due to injury.
“I cannot give you complete team news because many of them have to be checked today. We have plenty of uncertainties for muscular problems and fatigue. Who could be available who was not in the squad on Saturday? Maybe Rosicky and Koscielny – we’ll have to test him definitely today. There are plenty of uncertainties so I have to make up my mind late on.” – Wenger explained.
When asked about the possibility of Koscielny returning to the line-up in this game, Wenger said: “Koscielny will be tested today and I have to decide after training if I take the risk or not to start him tomorrow.”
The Frenchman also provided an update on Jack Wilshere’s recovery and revealed that the England international is expected to jog this week.
“Jack should start to jog this week. It is all going well, but we have to monitor him now day by day. I think the next three weeks will be very important for him.” – He added in his pre-match press conference.
Arsene Wenger is expected to make five changes to the starting eleven he fielded against Wigan in the last game. Olivier Giroud, who made an appearance from the bench, will replace Yaya Sanogo upfront, while Tomas Rosicky returns to the line-up replace the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is struggling with his fitness. Kim Kallstrom is likely to make his first Premier League start, alongside Mikel Arteta, as Ramsey is rested. There will be two changes at the back for Arsenal with Kieran Gibbs replacing the injured Nacho Monreal, while Wojciech Szczesny starts in goal ahead of FA Cup semi-final hero Lukasz Fabianski.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Kallstrom; Cazorla, Rosicky, Podolski; Giroud