Jack Wilshere joins the long injury list ahead of the FA Cup clash between Arsenal FC and Everton FC, while Koscielny remains doubtful.
Arsene Wenger is facing a lot of injury concerns ahead of Arsenal’s clash against Everton in the FA Cup. Arsenal’s faltering form in the Premier League, combined with the disappointing out come in the first leg of their Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, has provided this FA Cup with lot of importance. These tournaments perhaps represent their best chance of lifting a trophy this season. But the long injury list isn’t making Arsene Wenger’s task any easier.
Jack Wilshere was the latest addition to this list after midfielder picked up a hairline fracture during England’s match against Denmark at the Wembley. The Englishman is now set to miss out for the next six weeks at least. This has not only compounded Arsenal’s present troubles, but has also put some question mark about his place in the England squad for the World Cup.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed his absence in his pre-match press conference and hinted that it could be as long as eight weeks before he returns to first team action. But the Frenchman does expect him to feature before the end of this season.
“Yes [I expect him to]. There are 11 weeks to go, he will be out for six before he can absorb normal training. His injury will not stop him working on fitness so two weeks after [the first six weeks] he should be competitive. That means the maximum for him to be competitive in a game is eight weeks.” – The Arsenal manager said.
There are also concerns about the fitness of Laurent Koscielny after the Frenchman missed out on international duty with a hamstring injury. Wenger revealed that although initial scans didn’t reveal anything serious, he will undergo another test before the game.
“Apart from Jack, we have a doubt about Koscielny who has come back with a hamstring problem and didn’t play for France. All the other players came back in a good shape.
“His [Koscielny’s] scan is clear but we will have to test him today.” – Wenger added.
Wenger also confirmed Aaron Ramsey and Kim Kallstrom will return to the squad before the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur later this month.
“Aaron Ramsey is one week away. I think the next two games are coming too soon for him but for the weekend after [against Tottenham] he should be available. Kallstrom as well.” – He said.
Nacho Monreal is yet to regain full fitness as well; he along with Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby remains the other injury concerns for the Gunners. Arsene Wenger has also insisted that the upcoming Champions League second leg clash against Bayern won’t affect his team selection, so he is expected to field the strongest side possible. Arsenal will make five changes to the side that lost to Stoke City in their last league game.
Lukasz Fabianski will return in goal in place of Wojciech Szczesny, while Mathieu Flamini will replace the injured Jack Wilshere in the midfield. There will be three changes in attack which failed to score against Stoke City. Mesut Ozil, who came on as a substitute in that game, will start in the middle with Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wings. This means both Lukas Podolski and Tomas Rosicky will drop back to the bench. Yaya Sanogo is likely to start up front in place of Olivier Giroud, who is expected to be ‘rested’ after a fairly disappointing outing in his last game. If Koscielny fails to recover in time for this match, Thomas Vermaelen will return to the defence alongside Per Mertesacker.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Cazorla; Sanogo