Aaron Ramsey and Lukas Fabianski will start for Arsenal FC as they take on Wigan Athletic in the semi-final of the FA Cup tomorrow.
Arsenal take on Wigan Athletic in the first FA Cup semi-final at Wembley tomorrow as they look to take a step towards salvaging their season and ending their trophy drought. But Arsene Wenger will have to contain with an every growing injury list ahead of this game. The Frenchman has confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose last start was in the 2-2 draw with Swansea City last month, Tomas Rosicky and Kieran Gibbs will face later fitness test to confirm their availability for this game.
“I cannot give you concrete team news because we have so many uncertainties about Chamberlain (groin), Gibbs (ankle), Rosicky (thigh). There will be last-minute decisions on those three players. They are all 50:50.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Rosicky is expected to recover in time for this game, but Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gibbs are unlikely to start his match. Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny are still unavailable for selection and Arsene Wenger has insisted that the German international could be fit in time for their match against Hull City next Saturday, while Laurent Koscielny could return for their match against West Ham on Tuesday.
“Ozil and Koscielny are still out. I think the earliest to come back for Koscielny could be Tuesday and for Ozil it could be next Saturday. That would be a boost because at the moment we have too many players out and it’s important we get them back. We know that at this period of the season, the number of players we had out is too many.” – Wenger added.
Jack Wilshere, Ryo Miyaichi and Theo Walcott remain their long term injury concern, while Abou Diaby will return to full training next week and could possibly make an appearance before the end of this season.
“Diaby is back to full training next week. He could be available soon, maybe in a couple of weeks.” – He said.
Serge Gnabry is still struggling with his fitness as well, while Mathieu Flamini remains unavailable for selection as he serves his suspension. But the good news though is the return of Aaron Ramsey, who made an appearance in the second half of their match against Everton. Wenger has confirmed that the Welshman will make his first start in over three months in this game.
“He [Ramsey] is ready to start and certainly I will decide to start him because Flamini is suspended.” – The Arsenal manager confirmed.
Wenger has also revealed that Jack Wilshere is making good progress in his recovery and he is expected to start running by next week.
“It’s [Wilshere’s recovery] all going well but he has not started to run. I think that’s planned for next week. At the moment all is going well.” – Wenger assured.
The Frenchman has also revealed that Lukas Fabianski will start in goal following some wonderful performances in tournament.
“Fabianski will play in goal. It’s not a difficult decision because it’s a decision that has been made for a long time.” – He said.
When asked about whether Fabianski will be preferred over his fellow countrymen Wojciech Szczesny in the final of the this competition as well, if Arsenal do manage to beat Wigan, Wenger said: “Let’s play on Saturday. You play football on your merit and your performance and he has turned up with top-level performances until now in every single game. He has done extremely well. He has been man of the match in the three games he has played.”
Arsene Wenger is expected to make three changes to the side he used against Everton at the weekend. Lukas Fabianski will replace Wojciech Szczesny in goal, while Aaron Ramsey makes his way into the midfield alongside Mikel Arteta, in place of the suspended Flamini. Yaya Sanogo will lead the line upfront with Olivier Giroud dropping to the bench.
Arsenal lacked cutting edge against Everton, as they have done in a lot of their recent matches and they have looked vulnerable as well whenever the Merseyside club attacked them. Santi Cazorla has been in the news recently where he has questioned the side’s winning mentality, but in truth even the Spaniard has failed to step up when the Gunners have needs him the most. It will be a test of character for Arsenal against a well-oiled Wigan side, who will get men behind the ball, hold their shape and then hit them on the break.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Fabianski (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal; Arteta, Ramsey; Cazorla, Rosicky, Podolski; Sanogo